Two predator species are known for chacma baboons in Botswana: leopards, and lions. Predation rate has been estimated at 9 percent of the population per year. Of these animals, 18 percent are thought to be infants, 18 percent juveniles, and 13 percent adult males. A full 50 percent of predation deaths are of adult females.
Risk of predation may have an influence on how animals organize themselves within a moving group of chacma baboons. Animals who are less able to defend themselves from predators, or who have greater fear of predators, may locate themselves toward the rear of a groups approaching potentially dangerous areas, such as water holes. Also, these vulnerable individuals may by virtue of greater fear, may end up at the front of the group as it retreats from a predator.
Baboons have been known to attack leopards. Males, with their elongated canines, can inflict great damage on potential predators. It may be that the high percentage of females, infants, and juveniles taken by predators is related to a preference by predators for these less dangerous prey items.
- Cheney, D., R. Wrangham. 1987. Predation. Pp. 227-239 in B Smuts, D Cheney, R Seyfarth, R Wranghams, T Struhsaker, eds. Primate Societies. Chicago: The University of chicago Press.