Shahrina Chowdhury

Sociality, Stress, and Reproduction in Chacma Baboons in the Cape Peninsula, South Africa

Shahrina Chowdhury (Ph.D. candidate, City University of New York)

Shahrina's project focuses on social and environmental sources of stress, and social strategies to mitigate chronic stress, among females in three troops of chacma baboons in the Cape Peninsula.  Female chacma baboons in the Cape Peninsula are exposed to multiple stressors in both their social and physical environment.  Living in close proximity to humans, they experience frequent contact with people, both during raiding events and during herding by baboon monitors (see van Doorn).  Moreover, the social environment of female chacma baboons includes an array of potential stressors, including high levels of aggression and threat of infanticide from frequently changing male residence in a closed population.  Via a comparison of three troops of baboons in the Tokai Forest that vary in demographic structure, ranging patterns, and human contact, Shahrina aims to determine the impact of these stressors on female stress levels and short-term measures of reproductive output, as well as the potential mitigating effects of social bonds that females form with other females and with males.

This project has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Leakey Foundation.





publications and presentations from this project:

Chowdhury, S., Pines, M., Saunders, J., & Swedell, L. (in review) Costs and Benefits of Male Mating Strategies in Hamadryas and Chacma Baboons and the Added Value of Hamadryas Follower Males.  International Journal of Primatology.

Chowdhury, S., Pines, M., Saunders, J., Swedell, L. (2013) To commit or play the field: costs and benefits of male mating strategies in hamadryas versus chacma baboons. American Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement 56: 98-99.

Chowdhury, S., & Swedell, L. (2012) Social stability in the face of environmental and social instability: social network analysis of a small troop of raiding chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa and implications for wildlife management. Proceedings of the XXIVth Congress of the International Primatological Society.

Chowdhury, S. & Swedell, L. (2011) Intertroop dynamics and sociality of suburban chacma baboons in the Cape Peninsula. Abstract available at (presented at 2011 Annual Meeting of South African Primate Ecology and Genetics Group).