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Macaque monkeys

(Macaca Sylvanus)

Also named Barbary macaque (magot) – Macaca sylvanus. The only free-living primates of Europe that live near people.


These quadruped animals can become as tall as 75 cm and can weigh up to 13 kg. Their entire body is covered with yellow and brown fur; however, some individuals have some grey in their fur. Their hands and feet are pink. These monkeys don´t have a tail. Males are somewhat larger than females and the fur on their chests and backs is thicker.


These monkeys live in groups of 10-30 individuals and are constantly in motion. These diurnal creatures can live at altitudes of 2000 m and even higher. They like to live in rocky areas.
It is estimated that there are 1200-2000 individuals living. Their numbers are constantly decreasing because their habitat is being destroyed. In some countries of Northern Africa, they were extinct.
Historical findings show that 30.000 years ago they lived in the area of modern Germany and England. Nowadays, we find them in Gibraltar, where they became part of the national heritage. They became a real touristic attraction. They live on roofs and in parks. The locals and the tourists bring them food.


They are omnivores; however, their favourites are seeds and fruit. They also eat leafs, roots, and even insects.


Because they are part of the national heritage the Royal Navy was responsible for the survival of these monkeys. Gibraltar is under Great Britain´s rule, meaning the British laws apply.
According to the folk tradition, as long as the monkey are living on the island the British will rule Gibraltar. This is the reason why these monkeys are being looked after with such great care. During the Second World War, the population drastically decreased. Only a couple of them managed to stay alive. The then prime minister Winston Churchill ordered to bring in 10 Barbary monkeys from North Africa.
Today, the population has increased to 260. The Macaca Sylvanus are a rear and endangered species. From 2008, they are enlisted on IUCN´s red list of endangered species. Due to excellent living conditions and good care our monkeys breed successfully. Each year we have up to 2-3 offspring.


After 4 – 5 months of gestation, the male gives birth to one, rarely, two offspring. It´s interesting that both parents look after the offspring. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 4 or 5.

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