Geladas are not listed as endangered, but it is estimated that around 50,000 to 60,000 exist today. Through habitat destruction and hunting they are forced to live more close to the Olive Baboon and hybiridsation has been observed.
A captive gelada is reported to have lived well over 30 years. Lifespan of these animals in the wild has not been reported, but is presumably less than that seen in captivity.
Geladas are “shuffle-feeders” who rarely stand up when grazing, instead preferring to continuously pluck grass blades whilst shuffling from place to place on their bottoms.
Adult geladas have a diverse repertoire of over thirty discrete vocalizations, including contact, reassurance, appeasement, solicitation, ambivalence and aggressive-defensive vocalizations. Vocalizations are often combined together into sequences. Contact calling may be continuous and the common calling and replying between individuals may have important social functions. When vocalizations are directed at the members of a different reproductive unit, they are usually threatening.
Males from bachelor groups will challenge males of unimale groups for tenure of their harem, and thereby access to breeding females. Within unimale groups, female bonds are very strong, and the females will try to stay together even if the male of their group dies
Much like humans, the Gelada lives in family units but they generally consist of one male and there to six females. Like most other animal species, the male is typically larger and more colourful. Unlike most other primate troops (except for humans), the females are in control of the Gelada family. Once the male begins to deteriorate as a result of age, it is the females that decide when a new younger male will replace him.
The average body mass for an adult male gelada baboon is around 20 kilograms, and for the female it is between 13 and 16 kilograms. The males have a large mantle or mane surrounding their head. On the chest of both sexes are hairless patches of skin that are heart shaped in males and hourglass shaped in females.
The Gelada was discovered in 1835 by the explorer Ruppell, who nan;ed it by the local name used by the inhabitants of Gonder region where he first observed it. They are not difficult to study as they are very tame, however, little interest was shown in them until recently, when Patsy and Robin Dunbar made an exhaustive study of their social behaviour. The social behaviour of the apes and monkeys is evidence of a very high degree of intelligence and studies of their rudimentary social structures are proving of considerable value in analysing the origins of human social behaviour.
Gelada monkeys live only in the high mountain meadows of Ethiopia—an environment very unlike those of their forest- or savanna-dwelling primate relatives. This high-altitude homeland is replete with steep, rocky cliffs, to which geladas have adapted. At night, the animals drop over precipice edges to sleep huddled together on ledges.
The gelada (Theropithecus gelada), sometimes called the gelada baboon, is a species of Old World monkey found only in the Ethiopian Highlands, with large populations in the Semien Mountains. Theropithecus is derived from the Greek root words for "beast-ape." Like its close relatives the baboons (genus Papio), it is largely terrestrial, spending much of its time foraging in grasslands.