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  • Geladas in Zoo Zurich.


    Theropithecus gelada

    A striking feature of the gelada is the hairless patch on its chest. In the male it is hourglass shaped and glows red in color. For this reason, the gelada is also called the bleeding-heart monkey. During the reproductive cycle of the female, her mammary region becomes variably discolored, usually more reddish, and a variably pronounced series of warts develops on the edge of the hairless mammary region. These changes signal to the male that the female is ready to mate. The harem forms the social unit. Males remain harem leaders for an average of three to five years until they are displaced by another, usually stronger male. However, the new ruler needs the acceptance of the older females. Although the harem leader supervises the entire group, he cannot determine which females join or stay with him and which females leave his harem and move to another group. Unwanted males are driven away by the females.

    Taxonomy Monkeys, Old World monkeys, cercopithecids, papionini (45 species), gelada (possibly 3 subspecies)
    Habitat mountainous grasslands at 1800 to 4400 meters above sea level
    Activity pattern lives on the ground, diurnal, sleeps in rock niches, non-territorial
    Social structure harems with a sexually mature male and several usually related adult females, also groups with older and young males, sometimes joining in large herds of over 300 animals
    Diet grass and grass seed
    Weight females 10 to 14 kg, males 17 to 21 kg, newborns 450 to 500 g
    Head to torso length 50 to 75 cm
    Tail length up to 75 cm
    Gestation time 170 to 180 days
    Litter size 1 young
    Age at sexual maturity females 4 to 5 years, males 5 to 8 years
    Life expectancy over 20 years
    Current population decreasing, 200 000 animals, 312 animals in 21 European zoos, 15 animals in Bronx Zoo New York (2014)
    At Zoo Zurich since 1955, over 100 young up to 2014, internationally coordinated breeding (EEP)


    Verbreitungskarte Dschelada

    Animal sound


    E. Bier, Luxemburg
    R. Lachmayer, Fehraltorf
    L. Altorfer, Zürich
    I. + P. Stüber, Zollikon
    I. + P. Stüber, Zollikon
    K. Christen, Zürich
    D. Hossli, Rapperswil-Jona
    E. Frick, Zürich
    E. Bier, Luxemburg
    Malerhandwerk Herbert Mäder AG, Zürich
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    Conservation status

    IUCN RedList

    Breeding programme