Barbary Macaque Project

The primate known as Barbary macaque is part of the wide genus Macaca and is the only non-human primate found in Europe, precisely in Gibraltar. The story around the small population of Barbary macaques living in Gibraltar is mysterious and today it still unknown how it got there. This population counts around 200 individuals, whereas outside Europe, Barbary macaques now live only in two restricted areas in Morocco and Algeria, counting only about 8,000 individuals, classifying this species as “Endangered” by the IUCN Red List.
Parco Natura Viva supports the Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation (BMAC), an organisation that carries out projects dedicated to the conservation of barbary macaques in Morocco by investigating their conservation status in the wild through scientific studies, identifying the threats and intervening to safeguard the species and its habitat, and finally by educating local communities on the importance of this species and the need to protect it. Furthermore, BMAC carries out awareness campaigns which aim at reducing the illegal trade of these macaques and their use as pet and entertainment animals. These campaigns are aimed not only at the local populations with whom the Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation works to redeem the reputation of barbary macaques sustain its value, but also at tourists in order to make them aware of the negative impact that supporting the exploitation of these animals, like for example posing with one to take a selfie, has both on the welfare of the individuals in question and on the conservation of the last wild populations.
 
bertuccia-prog-1.jpg bertuccia-prog-2.jpg bertuccia-prog-3.jpg
 
To send their messages, the awareness campaigns take advantage of different media platforms, from the traditional printed material to social media such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Parco Natura Viva financially supports BMAC’s various activities, shares and promotes the awareness campaigns and carries out educational activities for the park’s visitors.
The Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) is classified as “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List. They inhabit two restricted areas in Morocco and some fragmented populations are found in Algeria. In the last decades the total population has been drastically reduced, and the recent numbers estimate about 8,000 individuals still present in nature. The main threat to their survival is habitat loss, mainly due to logging. As a result, Barbary macaques had to change some of their feeding habits, eating also barks and flowers, food that are not normally part of their traditional diet. The illegal trade and the use of these primates as pets and for entertainment are other important causes of the decreasing number of wild barbary macaques; it’s estimated that about 300 babies are captured and sold as pets annually.
 
bertuccia-status-1.jpg bertuccia-status-2.jpg bertuccia-status-3.jpg

 
Parco Natura Viva hosts a large colony of barbary macaques composed of 12 individuals. In 2010, a new exhibit was realised for this colony in the area called “Sentieri d’Africa”. Compared to the previous exhibit based on an old concept, this new one allows animals to show species-specific behaviours and better manage the visitors’ presence, avoiding begging behaviours (asking visitors for food). Furthermore, the park’s colony is part of the EEP (EAZA Ex-situ Programme) conservation programme.
 
bertuccia-alp-1.jpg bertuccia-alp-2.jpg bertuccia-alp-3.jpg
Since 2010, Parco Natura Viva financially supports annually the in-situ activities of the Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation, supporting the research and education activities and the work carried out to contrast the illegal trade and use of Barbary macaques as entertainment animals and pets. Furthermore, Parco Natura Viva raises visitors’ awareness through specific educational activities that involve them in first person inside the park. In 2015 the park joined the Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation campaign #JustSayNo with a series of initiatives addressing the visitors and informing them about the exploitation of these animals as show animals and their use to get tourist to take pictures with them. The staff of the park also got together to realise a video that launched this important message!
 
bertuccia-csf-1.jpg bertuccia-csf-2.jpg bertuccia-csf-3.jpg
 
 
If you are interested in this project and you want to help saving the Barbary macaque and its habitat, there are different ways in which you can contribute. By participating to the activities organized by Parco Natura Viva, such as guided tours and educational workshops, you can learn more about this species and the threats to its survival, also learning what behaviours to adopt in everyday life to protect their habitat. By adopting the park’s barbary macaques you will directly contribute to help finance this project; but even with your visit to the park you will be able to make a concrete contribution to conservation, since a percentage of the value of the admission ticket is always destined to in situ conservation projects. Finally, by making other people aware of the problems of animals in the wild, you can actively help spread the knowledge and guarantee a future for the Barbary macaque in its natural environment.
 
bertuccia-cpa-1.jpg bertuccia-cpa-2.jpg bertuccia-cpa-3.jpg