Barbary macaque

Barbary macaque

Macaca sylvanus
CR

IUCN status
Critically endangered
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Barbary macaque

« The day the macaques leave Gibraltar is the day the British lose the territory. »

Strict organisation

But chaotic relationships

For the Barbary macaque, community living is extremely important. The macaque lives in a group, made up of 20 to 30 individuals, with a complex social organisation. These groups are made up of many males and females, each of which have a clear hierarchical position that is defined by birth. Although these ranks are relatively stable, each individual will protect its social status by screaming, chasing, or less frequently through physical attacks. Despite these facets of their relationships, which may seem chaotic to us, Barbary macaques are relatively peaceful compared to other species of primates.

Barbary macaque

Beauval Nature is helping save the barbary macaque

Classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN, the barbary macaque is threatened by loss of habitat due to intensive logging and land clearing. Further to this, the barbary macaque also suffers from illegal trade and persecution by local populations.

The Barbary Macaque Awareness & Conservation association is supported by the Beauval Nature association and studies the relationship between local populations and barbary macaques. Shepherds are now tasked with locating populations of barbary macaques and monitoring them. Several other awareness-raising programmes have been put in place, especially in schools.

Barbary macaque

Beauval’s Barbary macaques

Our group of Barbary macaques, established in 1989, has had many births! 

Within groups of Barbary macaques, the babies really are “kings”. 

You will sometimes even see a baby steal the food of large dominant male with no reaction from the male! 

Barbary macaque
Barbary macaque
Barbary macaque
Barbary macaque
Beauval Nature

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Critically endangered

Learn more about the species

Range
Europe, Africa
  • Diet
    Omnivore, Frugivore
  • Gestation period
    5 to 6 months
  • Litter size
    1 to 2 young
  • Habitat
    Mountains, Forests
Something to eat all year round
The Barbary macaque’s diet is very varied and includes fruit, seeds, plants, leaves, bulbs, and even some insects. This species also adapts to both its environment and to the seasons. It should be noted that there are dramatic changes in climate in the Atlas Mountains, where it lives. Therefore, during spring and summer, it generally lives on the ground and feeds on caterpillars, seeds, fruit, and sometimes even amphibians. In winter, food on the ground becomes scarce. The Barbary macaque therefore becomes arboreal again and feeds on leaves and bark.
Seduction is the be-all and end-all
It is the female Barbary macaque who initiates reproductive behaviour and decides when the mating season is over. To stand any chance of being one of the males chosen by the females, male Barbary macaques have developed many seduction techniques. The first is simply to always stay close to a female in the hope that she will set her sights on the first male she sees. But it is also important to know how to stand out! Some male Barbary macaques, for example, will take care of or carry youngsters in front of the female, or even wave attractive branches to get her attention.
A strange military role
Gibraltar, in southern Spain, has been a British territory since 1704. This very special rock is the closest strip of European land to Africa and is home to several groups of Barbary macaques. According to local superstition, the day the macaques leave Gibraltar is the day the British lose the territory. The monkeys are therefore exceptionally well looked after! For many years, the welfare of the Barbary macaques was the responsibility of the British War Ministry and one of its officers. Today, it is the Gibraltar Natural History Society that looks after these macaques.

Where can I see them in the park?

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