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Gelada (Theropithecus gelada) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat


Central Ethiopian Plateau (from Bergman and Beehner 2013 unless otherwise noted)

  • Tigre, Begemdir, Wolle, and Shoa Provinces
  • Distributional bounds
    • The Blue Nile to the west and the Wabe Shebelle valley to in the south (Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)

Three regional populations

  • Primary population
    • Theropithecus gelada obscurus
    • South of Lake Tana and east of the Takkazzé River (Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)
  • Smaller, secondary population
    • T. g. gelada
    • North of Lake Tana and west of the Takkazzé River (Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)
  • Isolated population in the Arsi region
    • Along the Wabi-Shebeli River (Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)

Historical distribution

  • Broad geographic Theropithecus spp footprint
    • African, southern Europe, and the Indian subcontinent; based on fossil remnants
    • African range (Delson et al. 1993; Hughes et al. 2008)
      • Northern, Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa; numerous fossils representing 5 proposed species
      • Algeria, Morocco, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire, South Africa
    • Southern European (Jolly 2013)
      • Southern Italy; fossil remnant of cervical vertebra (Rook et al. 2004)
      • Southeastern Spain; fossilized teeth (Gilbert et al. 1995)
      • Inhabited the region c. 1.6-1.3 million years ago (Ma) (Rook et al. 2004)
    • Indian subcontinent (Delson 1993; Delson et al. 1993)
      • Ropar district, Punjab' province; fossilized fragments of a jaw and teeth
      • Age of fossils unclear


High montane grasslands

  • Associated with rocky gorges, precipices, and moorland (Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)
    • Sharp escarpment edges provide sleeping sites and refuge from predators (Bergman and Beehner 2013)
  • Grassland plateaus
    • Known locally as high Wurch or Puna grassland steppe (Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)

Elevation range (from Bergman and Beehner 2013)

  • 2,400-4,200 m (7,874-13,780 ft)
    • Though found in some areas at lower (to 1,700 m or 5577 ft) and higher (4,600 m or 15,092 ft) elevations
    • Restricted to high elevations where food (grass) is available

Annual precipitation (from Bergman and Beehner 2013)

  • 1100-1500 mm (43-59 in)
  • Year-round surface water resources

Temperature (from Bergman and Beehner 2013)

  • Mean daily highs
    • 7-16oC (45-61oF)
  • Large daily temperature range
    • c. 25oC (c. 77oF)
      • Commonly below freezing at night

Distribution Map

Geleda map

Gelada distribution. Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

Page Citations

Bergman and Beehner (2013)
Delson (1993)
Delson et al. (1993)
Gilbert et al. (1995)
Gippoliti and Hunter (2008)
Hughes et al. (2008)
Jolly (2013)
Rook et al. (2004)

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