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Gelada (Theropithecus gelada) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

Population size

  • Global population estimate
    • No recent systematic surveys
    • Gippoliti and Hunter (2008) propose a "guesstimate" of 200,000 individuals
  • Simien Mountain National Park (SMNP) region (Beehner et al. 2008)
    • 2006 survey to estimate population size within and around the park
      • c. 4260-4560 in the park and surrounding region
      • c. 2460-2650 individuals within the park itself

Decreasing in number

  • Some populations appear stable
    • SMNP appears to support a stable population (Beehner et al. 2008)

Conservation Status



Other Status

  • African Convention
    • Vulnerable, Class A (Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)

Threats to Survival

Habitat loss (from Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)

  • Agricultural expansion
  • Soil erosion, the result of deforestation

Competition with livestock (from Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)

  • Gelada forced into less productive areas
    • Grazing pressure with domestic livestock pushes gelada onto less suitable land

Seen as a crop pests (from Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)

  • Shot by farmers

Exploitation by humans (from Gippoliti and Hunter 2008)

  • Primarily an historical threat
    • 1968-1973; 1,200 animals trapped and imported into the U.S.
      • Used as laboratory animals
    • Selectively hunted for ceremonial costumes and tourist souvenirs
      • Male's cape used to create ceremonial costumes by the Oromo tribe
      • Historic records of capes made into fur hats for tourists; does not occur at present

Management Actions

Population within a protected park (from Gippoliti and Hunter 2008 unless otherwise noted)

  • Inhabit SMNP
    • Park covers a small area
  • Proposed reserves to protect larger numbers
    • Blue Nile Gorges National Park and Indeltu (Shebelle) Gorges Reserve

Needed actions (from Gippoliti and Hunter 2008 unless otherwise noted)

  • Further research on taxonomic divisions within the species
  • Field surveys
    • To establish distribution ranges of subspecies

Protected Population


Numerous gelada inhabit the Simien Mountain National Park; established to protect Walia ibex (shown above) and the Ethiopian wolf.

Image credit: © Al and Marie from Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Page Citations

Beehner et al. (2008)
Gippoliti and Hunter (2008)

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