Troops of Hamadryas baboons can reach numbers of 400 strong without a single particular leader. Albeit large, these troops are sub-divided into dozens of smaller harems, which are led by high-ranking dominant males. While most animal packs have a fairly straightforward hierarchy, that of the Hamadryas baboon is particularly complex, which is just one reason why the species can be so fascinating to study.
As harems of Hamadryas baboons begin waking up at the top of their cliff in the morning, one of their first instinctive actions is to venture out in search of food to start their day off right. Doing so is a risky endeavor, as the baboons effectively leave the safety of their cliff to reach the potential prey below. Furthermore, there are often skirmishes between fellow baboons on the way down, which results in severe punishments from the males.
But regardless of how dominant or powerful a male might be, Hamadryas baboons recognize that there’s safety in numbers. As they reach the bottom of the cliff, they travel as a troop, protecting one another from potential dangers including bigger predators and rival troops.
In this example, we see a troop of Hamadryas baboons being intercepted by a rival troop. Their sounds stop the first troop dead in their tracks as they attempt to discern what’s going on. Unfortunately, there’s no stopping the inevitable fact that the two troops will eventually collide as they search the same territory for food.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hamadryas baboons can be highly territorial. They don’t like it much when another troop encroaches on their turf, and that’s one reason why we witness so much physical violence between males in this clip. Males from one troop effectively pummel males from the other, all while snatching potential mates from the rival troop in the process.
Indeed… it can be complete and utter chaos in the baboon world…