Barbary Apes of Gibraltar
The Barbary Apes are constant reminders of the well-preserved natural environment in Gibraltar. These primates are free-roaming creatures, which have become a tourist attraction in the vicinity of the Great Siege Tunnels.
The monkeys belong to the species known as Barbary Macaques, tailless apes native to Morocco and Algeria. Gibraltar’s Barbary Apes are in a league of their own, being the only free-living monkeys in Europe. Such popularity draws tourists who amusingly take their pictures and interact with them on site.
More than a hundred are seen throughout Gibraltar with some 20 of them living in Apes Den or Queen’s Gate. Male Macaques can live up to 17 years while females have the lifespan of 22 years. Every monkey in the island is accounted for, with identification tags and health records.
The government maintains a wildlife preservation program that includes caring for these creatures. Information services also advise proper caution when interacting with the Barbary Apes as they can be frightened or threatened at any given time. Tips on interpreting their gestures and actions are helpful to take note of to prevent accidents. While it is entertaining to watch the apes groom themselves and their babies, be forewarned when they pout, as it is a defense mechanism when they are afraid. One trait unique among the Macaques is chattering their teeth as a means to calm down after aggression.