A New Diet on the Menu: Yellow Baboon Foraging on Cassod Tree (Senna siamea), A Trypsin Inhibitor Legume

  • A.S. Kitegile Department of Wildlife Management, College of Forestry, Wildlife and Tourism Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania
Keywords: baboons - selective omnivorous - dietary breadth – protease - fallback food - dry season diet - foraging strategy


Cassod (Senna Siamea) which belongs to the family Fabaceae is the fast-growing leguminous tree with prolific seed production. The tree contains trypsin inhibitor proteins which are potentially deleterious to monogastric animals.  Feeding behaviour of yellow baboons has been extensively studied in the savannah environment of East Africa. However, none of the study has reported on yellow baboon foraging on Senna siamea, this is the first study reporting on its consumption by yellow baboons in East Africa. We used focal animal sampling to collect data on yellow baboons’ consumption of Senna siamea. Finding from the study indicated that, seeds were the only food parts consumed by yellow baboons from Senna siamea; and they were consumed more in the late dry season and never in the wet season. Seeds were consumed either unprocessed or processed by removing the seed coat. Consumption of proceed seeds were done more by adult females and sub adult males (small bodied individuals) than adult males. It is considered that the climatic changes witnessed around the globe might have provided baboons with wider food choices options and adaptation. Therefore, more studies on baboons’ dietary choices are important for the understanding of their complex ecological adaptations.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2408-8137
print ISSN: 2408-8129