Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Barbary Macaque

Before Andrew graduated from high school, we visited Spain. As part of the visit we went to Gibraltar, which is a British Overseas Territory, at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. It is dominated by the 1,398 foot high Rock of Gibraltar. The top tourist attraction in Gibraltar is the Barbary macaque, the only population in Europe. Between 230 and 300 of them (I've seen both numbers) live freely on the Rock of Gibraltar. As they are tailless, they are often called Barbary apes, despite the fact they are monkeys. DNA evidence has proven that they are descended from Algerian and Moroccan populations of Barbary macaques. They have been present since before the British captured Gibraltar in 1704. It is believed they were introduced by the Moors, who occupied the area from 711 to 1492, and who kept them as pets. 
The Barbary macaques, especially the young ones, are quite inquisitive.

This view shows that this macaque is tailless.
The Barbary macaque was traditionally found in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia (they are now extinct in Tunisia). They have declined rapidly in recent years and it is estimated that there are only 12,000 to 21,000 left in Morocco and Algeria. They were declared an endangered species in 2009. The macaques on Gibraltar, however, are thriving. This macaque gets its name from the Barbary Coast of Northern Africa. Their diet is primarily plants and insects. 


  1. This was one of the highlights of our trip for me, and that's one of my favorite pictures of Andrew.

  2. Fun to see these older pictures of Andrew.