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‘No evidence’ emaciated Granada macaques were from Gibraltar, Cortes says

Photo via the Guardia Civil.

Two emaciated Barbary macaques rescued from appalling conditions in a private residence in Granada could have been smuggled into Spain from Morocco, Environment Minister Dr John Cortes has said.

He was responding to Chronicle questions after numerous media outlets reported that the two monkeys were from Gibraltar.

The macaques were found on Wednesday by Guardia Civil officers who said that had been caged for over 15 years within a private patio and were living in shocking conditions.

Dr Cortes told the Chronicle there was “no evidence” at this stage to suggest the macaques came from Gibraltar, adding the Gibraltar Government had reached out to the Spanish authorities.

“It’s at least as likely that they were smuggled into Spain from Morocco via Algeciras,” Dr Cortes said.

He added that the confusion in the media reporting had likely arisen because Spanish authorities referred to them in a press statement as “monos de Gibraltar”, a phrase commonly used in Spain to describe the species.

The Guardia Civil confirmed a 56-year-old man was being investigated for crimes against wildlife and animals, and the macaques had been transferred to Spanish rescue centre ‘AAP Primadomus’.

The Barbary macaque is a protected species in Spain and according to the Guardia Civil, vets from AAP Primadomus confirmed the two monkeys had lived in appalling conditions.

“The ‘macaca sylvanus’, a male and a female, were separated and locked in rusty cages with sharp edges, in very poor hygienic-sanitary conditions, with no continuous supply of water or shelter in case of adverse weather conditions,” the Guardia Civil said in a statement.

The statement added that the macaques had suffered from years of poor nutrition, alopecia, missing teeth and cavities, diabetes, and metabolic diseases.

The macaques also had no access to vet treatment over the years and had not been tested for transmittable diseases such as AIDS, herpes or tuberculosis.

The Guardia Civil said this posed a risk to public health.

The macaques will remain in the care of AAP Primadomus, which will be responsible for their rehabilitation.

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