Gibraltar is the only place in Europe where monkeys live in the wild. Native to Northern Morocco and Algeria, these macaques probably found their way to the Rock of Gibraltar on board merchant and pirate ships. There are approximately 300 monkeys in Gibraltar and they make up several distinct family packs. Each pack is led by a dominant male, called the Alpha male, who is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of that family.
At one point in time the population of the Gibraltar Barbary Macaques dropped to only 7 individuals, threatening its existence in Gibraltar. However, it is said that the British Prime Minister in power at the time, (Sir Winston Churchill) ordered a repopulation of this species bringing in from Africa a replenishment of Apes to assure the continuation of the Gibraltar Barbary Macaques population, because Sir Winston Churchill claimed that “as long as the monkeys stay in Gibraltar territory, Gibraltar will remain British”.
Gibraltar Barbary Macaques are known for their sociable and intelligent nature. These Barbary macaques are about 60 cm (24 inches) long and have light yellowish brown fur and a pink face. Adult males weigh about 16 kg (35 pounds), adult females 11 kg (24 pounds) on average.
The population of Gibraltar Barbary Macaques inhabit the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, which provides them with a suitable habitat consisting of rocky slopes, forests, and open areas. The macaques are highly adapted to this environment and are known for their agility in climbing steep cliffs, as well as being very social beings known for their unique behaviour and interaction with humans.
The macaques are protected by law, and the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS) oversees their conservation and welfare, with continued efforts to protect and preserve this population to ensure their long-term survival.
Tourists visiting Gibraltar often enjoy observing and interacting with the macaques, but it’s important to remember that they are wild animals. Feeding them or engaging in inappropriate behaviour can be harmful to both humans and the macaques. GONHS and local authorities promote responsible tourism and educate visitors about the proper way to interact with the macaques.
The Gibraltar Barbary Macaques are a unique and cherished species, representing an important part of Gibraltar’s natural heritage, which can be visited when embarking on any of the GTA’s Tour packages, such as the Gibraltar Panoramic Rock Tour package, the Gibraltar Standard Rock Tour package, the Gibraltar Standard Rock Tour package, the Gibraltar Open Rock Tour package or with the Customised Rock Tour packages.
If you are visiting Gibraltar, via land, air, or Cruise Liner, visiting the Gibraltar iconic wild Macaques is a thing to do you must not miss. For more information on how to visit this Gibraltar attraction, get in contact with our GTA Team and we will provide you with all the information you need.