This was one of the most exciting wildlife moments I have ever witnessed. It was just like a schoolyard fight while the gang cheered on their champion.
Alpha male Geladas have a harem of up to eight females, which leaves a large number of bachelor males that hang around in gangs. They go around testing the status of the alpha males. But here’s the interesting bit. The females watch all of this with interest and if their alpha male isn’t macho enough and wimps out of a fight, they are likely to reject him and transfer their affections to the rival. Losing a harem means no sex, ever, so it is worth fighting for. The animal on the left is an alpha male with a harem to impress. The gang on the right are bachelor males pitting their champion against the alpha. The two main fighters have teeth bared, their main weapons. You can see most of the males in the safe zone are young ones, but just look at the expressions on their faces.. As this is eleven against one my vote goes to the alpha male. I think he’s earned his spurs.
I took this photograph in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia at just under 4000m elevation. They were going at it hammer and tongs yet seemed oblivious to their human spectators.
Taken with a Nikon D500 and a 300mm f4 lens with a 1.4x converter. 1/1250 second f5.6 ISO 500 (11 February 2017)