Gibraltar celebrates international Macaque Day
Yesterday was International Macaque Day and in Gibraltar, the home of the only free roaming Macaques in Europe, to mark the occasion an event was held at the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park in the Botanic Gardens. Children and adults alike went along to meet the Macaques and to hear what Gibraltar’s Primatologist, Brian Gomila from Monkey Talk, had to say about these infamous animals that draw thousands of tourists to the Rock each year.
Mr Gomila with the assistance of Macaque keeper Simon Looms showed the group how the hierarchy works within the Macaque environment especially when it came to food. He used the analogy that the children could relate to - the school system where the head master/mistress was the leader, then teachers and finally pupils. He asked them questions in relation to how humans should behave around Macaque especially when it came to feeding, each child knew it was wrong to give them any food and learnt also that in doing so it could mean the animal who would then leave its environment in search of more.
Park Manager, Jessica Leaper, is the Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation’s (BMAC) Ambassador for Gibraltar and spoke about the conservation work being done in Morocco to help save this threatened species in the wild. She explained that many of the Macaques are used to pose with tourists for photographs are babies, who have been taken from the mother, and people should resist from doing this. In addition to the informative talks that took place yesterday, there was plenty of fun to be had too from cakes and drinks being sold to raise funds. There was also face painting, monkey mask making to quizzes and other games.
The money raised will be donated to the BMAC charity in Morocco whose work is helping to preserve the Barbary macaque in the wild.