Symbiotic Relationships Gelada Monkeys in Ethiopia May Help Save an Endangered Species

Rarely do primates interact with a possible predator.  Yet the relationship between gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) and the critically endangered Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis) may actually save the rare canids.  Both mammals live in a tall-grass ecosystem in the highlands of north-central Ethiopia – the Guassa Plateau.  A long-term study of geladas has found that wolves foraging for rodents were more successful when they were near or within a group of the primates.  Apparently the monkeys disturb surrounding vegetation, thus flushing out the wolves’ prey.  And the wolves do not hunt the gelada young or other vulnerable members of the primate troop.  Also, it seems the larger the group of monkeys, the higher the wolves’ success rate.

Gabrielle

For details see:  “Journal of Mammalogy” (2015) 96 (1): 129-137.  (Vivek V. Venkataraman, Jeffrey T. Kerby, Nga Nguyen, Zelealem Tefera Ashenafi, Peter J. Fashing)  “Solitary Ethiopian Wolves Increase Predation Success on Rodents When Among Grazing Gelada Monkey Herds”.

Also:  https//:www.anthro.fullerton.edu/gelada/    provides detailed information on the Guassa Gelada Research Project.

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