Monkeys in Morocco

Known in Morocco as the Barbary ape, this medium-size primate is actually a macaque monkey, the mistake arising from their lack of a tail. Like all macaques, they have powerful jaws and long canine teeth. The Barbary macaque, which lives for up to 22 years, is the only macaque outside of Asia and is found in Morocco and North Algeria, along with a small population, under the protection of the British army, in Gibraltar.

Barbary macaques live in multimale, multifemale troops of 20 to 30, with females as the head of the troop. They differ from other macaques in that the males help to care for the young, often grooming and playing together for hours. This occurs because the females mate with all the male members of the troop, so they are never sure of the offspring's paternity. This situation then forces the males to collectively look after all the offspring. The females give birth to a single offspring every 1 or 2 years.


Barbary macaques are equally at home on the ground as in the trees, and feed on a wide variety of leaves, roots, sprouts, fruit, and invertebrates. When food is scarce, however, they forage for bark, and this has put them at odds with the Moroccan forestry services who have considered culling the macaques in the past because of their bark stripping, even though the species is listed as vulnerable by the World Conservation Union. This bark stripping is due to the macaque's range being reduced by drought, logging, and overgrazing.

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