At 3200 meters, at the eastern edge of the Ethiopian highlands, the escarpment descends in the lowlands. Nestled on the edge, about 300 km northeast from Addis Ababa, there is an Afroalpine grassland called Guassa that is home to a variety of rare and endemic species. Despite widespread destruction of native flora across the Ethiopian highlands, the Guassa persists because of a 400 year-old conservation initiative called the Qero system.
For the past 11 years, this grassland has also been home to the Guassa Gelada Research Project, directed by Peter Fashing and Nga Nguyen at California State University Fullerton. This project monitors the social behavior and demographics of a ~250-member band of gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) on a daily basis.
I am currently associate director of the Guassa Gelada Research Project. Over the years, our projects have addressed several aspects of gelada ecology, behavior, and morphology.