Drivers told to exercise caution after macaque is killed in Upper Rock
Motorists are being urged to drive with caution in the Upper Rock nature reserve after the Macaque Management Team this week registered the death of a two-year old macaque killed by a passing vehicle.
The macaque, who was from the Prince Philip Arch’s troop, was discovered by a local guide at a round 6.30pm on Monday evening.
An autopsy carried out by the Gibraltar Veterinary Clinic later confirmed the cause of death as acute trauma to the head and chest, consistent with injuries caused by a vehicle.
The Government of Gibraltar said this is the first macaque fatality it has had since lockdown measures eased.
“There is a macaque management team, security guards and other personnel in the nature reserve as well as new speed bumps all over the nature reserve but unfortunately there will always be individuals who show contempt for the law and to nature,” a spokesman for No.6 Convent Place told the Chronicle.
“Killing a macaque is a criminal offence under the Nature Protection Act and, with sufficient evidence and witnesses, the Royal Gibraltar Police could prosecute.”
“Sadly in this case nobody has come forward who has witnessed the incident.”
In a joint statement, Monkey Talk, the Gibraltar Veterinary Clinic and the Macaque Management Team urged drivers to drive with caution and to be mindful of the macaques at all times, particularly in and around the various macaque hot spots, including Queens Road by Anglian Way, St Michael’s Cabin, Prince Philips Arch, and Apes Den.
The statement said macaques tend to associate vehicles with food handouts and they tend to climb the vehicles if they slow down. The local guide advises drivers to rev the engine and adds that sounding the horn is “good practice” before driving off.
In addition, August and September tend to be one of the most dangerous times of the year for macaques, they said, as babies born in June tend to run around and play without becoming accustomed to traffic yet.
“The Management Team keep records of macaque deaths and even though the macaques are habituated to traffic the Management assures that deaths by road traffic accidents account for the single most common cause of death among young macaques, particularly in their first year of life,” the statement read.
“The Department for the Environment recently instigated the installation of speed bumps throughout the Nature Reserve to help protect the wildlife and indeed visitors.”
“However, these have not proved as effective as one would have hoped and more so in the evenings when drivers find themselves with a clear stretch of road ahead of them and have been observed to accelerate at great speeds, several times the allowed speed limit of 30km per hour.”
“It is a shame that a small minority have no consideration whatsoever and drive completely insensitive to their natural surroundings and its wildlife that should be made to feel safe in their natural habitat.”