Antelope Predation by Nigerian Forest Baboons: Ecological and Behavioural Correlates

Volker Sommer, Adriana Lowe, Goncalo Jesus, Nienke Alberts, Yaelle Bouquet, David M. Inglis, Megan Petersdorf, Eelco van Riel, James Thompson, Caroline Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Baboons are well studied in savannah but less so in more closed habitats. We investigated predation on mammals by olive baboons (Papio anubis) at a geographical and climatic outlier, Gashaka Gumti National Park (Nigeria), the wettest and most forested site so far studied. Despite abundant wildlife, meat eating was rare and selective. Over 16 years, baboons killed 7 bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) and 3 red-flanked duiker (Cephalophus rufilatus), mostly still-lying ‘parked' infants. Taking observation time into account, this is 1 predation per group every 3.3 months - far lower than at other sites. Some features of meat eating resemble those elsewhere; predation is opportunistic, adult males monopolize most prey, a targeted killing bite is lacking and begging or active sharing is absent. Carcass owners employ evasive tactics, as meat is often competed over, but satiated owners may tolerate others taking meat. Other features are unusual; this is only the second study site with predation records for bushbuck and the only one for red-flanked duiker. The atypical prey and rarity of eating mammals probably reflects the difficulty of acquiring prey animals when vegetation cover is dense. Our data support the general prediction of the socioecological model that environments shape behavioural patterns, while acknowledging their intraspecific or intrageneric plasticity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-90
JournalFolia Primatologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Predation
  • Baboon
  • Bushbuck
  • Duiker
  • Forest
  • Nigeria

Cite this