Julian Saunders

+27 (071) 414-8041  

test I am interested in the evolution of social behavior and, in particular, the role of vocal communication in the evolution and maintenance of sociality. I study baboons to address these topics. More specifically, I study hamadryas baboons Papio hamadryas hamadryas in Ethiopia and Chacma baboon Papio hamadryas ursinus in South Africa.

I am concerned about the rapid demise of baboon populations throughout Africa. I am therefore involved in projects to promote the value of baboons and initiate strategies to ensure their conservation. Furthermore, I believe baboons provide an excellent model to teach kids scientific and conservation principles. This allows us to promote the conservation of baboons, improve the relationship between people and our natural environment, and promote scientific literacy.

PhD Research

My PhD thesis investigates the functional significance and behavioural correlates of female copulation calls in chacma baboons in South African and hamadryas baboons in Ethiopia. These calls are very prominant and ubiquitous in chacma baboons, but diminutive and almost absent in hamadryas baboons.


Filoha Hamadryas Research Project

The Filoha Hamadryas Project focuses on the behavioral biology and socioecology of wild hamadryas baboons. Ongoing research at Filoha includes studies on the social behavior, reproductive strategies, behavioral ecology, and vocal communication of hamadryas baboons.


Baboon Research Unit

The Cape Peninsula Baboon Research Unit is a collection of scientists focusing their research on baboons of the Cape Peninsula and surrounding areas. This research encompasses various aspects of baboon biology, including ecology, behaviour, genetics and evolution.


Imfene Initiative

The Imfene Initiative presents a strategy to protect at-risk baboons on the Cape Peninsula, an education program to reduce the baboon-human conflict, and a platform to proactively address baboon conservation across Africa. Furthermore, Imfene aims to collate information on baboons and disseminate these data in accessible formats. Our aim is to provide up to date information on baboon biology, socio-ecology, conservation and commensalism.

Save Awash National Park

The Save Awash National Park (SANP) project is the sister project of the Filoha Hamadryas Research Project. Through our research on hamadryas baboons we are able to support the SANP project and constructively contribute to the improvement and sustainablity of the Awash National Park.