We have a group of four Barbary Macaques, three of which were rescued by AAP, a rescue centre in Spain.
Maugli, the dominant male, was kept as a pet in France. His owner abandoned him after he got severely bitten; realising Barbary Macaques don’t make good pets and can be a potentially dangerous animal!
Pepa, the highest ranking female in the group, was kept as a pet in Spain, she was bought off the internet as a gift for a child!
Malvine was confiscated in France, after being kept as a pet, wasting away in a small cage all by herself.
Last but not least we have Madiba, who was born to Maugli & Pepa whilst at AAP; being the ‘baby’ of the group she is very mischievous! She is now 5 years old but still tries to ride on her Dad’s back, just like she did as a baby!
Barbary Macaques are native to Morocco & Algeria and were introduced to Gibraltar, possibly by British soldiers in the 18th century for hunting. They are a highly adaptable species and live in a range of habitats, from fir forests to cliff faces, and temperatures, being one of the few monkeys that live in cold, snowy areas.
They are omnivores, eating a wide range of plant foods, including bark & acorns, mushrooms and a range of animal prey, including insects, amphibians and reptiles, such as lizards. Their diet changes seasonally.
Barbary Macaques live in groups ranging from 30 to 80 individuals, with females forming the core of the group, and are highly social animals, who form and strengthen bonds by grooming each other.
Females mate with all males of the group, so male can never be sure of paternity. This behaviour encourages males to look after youngsters, despite not knowing if they are their offspring. Males can often be seen moving around the forest with infants on their backs, and will even put themselves in danger to take an infant to safety. Females give birth in spring and all of the group becomes very focused on the new arrivals.
Barbary Macaques are one of the most seized CITES-listed mammals in the EU. Infants are sold as pets in Morocco or taken over the border into Europe. The illegal wildlife trade is one of the most profitable illegal industries worldwide, second only to human trafficking, counterfeiting and drugs. The population of this species has declined by 50% over the last 3 generations and this decline is expected to continue in the future. Barbary Macaques are also threatened by habitat destruction and degradation, their population is now severely fragmented, which makes it difficult for viable groups to survive. They were once found throughout North Africa but now only exist in small areas.
We have chosen to support BMAC – Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation, who work in Morocco and Algeria saving Barbary Macaques, more info about BMAC >> HERE <<
The Barbary Macaque is the only macaque species found outside of Asia and the only primate species found in Europe.
Legend has it that as long as Barbary Macaques exist in Gibraltar, the region will remain under British rule. So, following an epidemic in the 1900s that wiped out the macaque population, local authorities re-introduced them from the African mainland and now protect the population.
They are often referred to as the Barbary Ape or Rock Ape, however they are not Apes because they have a vestigial tail.