CZAAWE Resource Article

Patterns of wounding in hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) in North American zoos
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
In North American zoos, hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas) have traditionally been housed as single one‐male units (single male groups). In recent years, efforts have been made to house hamadryas in groups composed of multiple one‐male units (multi‐male groups) to more closely mirror their natural social structure, in addition to all‐male or bachelor groups to manage surplus males. Given that the majority of social conflict in hamadryas occurs between males during the acquisition and defense of females, it was thought that managing hamadryas in these multi‐male groups would result in increased rates of wounding. To assess this, incidences of wounding were recorded over one year across seven zoos (10 social groups, 59 individuals). Overall, we found no difference in wounding rates between group types, or by sex, and group type. These data provide evidence that managing hamadryas in multi‐male and bachelor groups is an effective husbandry practice that does not negatively impact the welfare of the individuals, in addition to providing a more species‐appropriate social setting for hamadryas in zoos. As the management of hamadryas in multi‐male and bachelor groups continues and expands, additional research will be needed to understand what factors contribute to optimal cohesion, and welfare of groups and if wounding rates change as group size continues to increase.