Barbary macaques are designated as critically threatened by CITES

© HM Government of Gibraltar

Barbary macaque in Gibraltar.

AT the 17th meeting of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), held in South Africa, a motion was passed on September 29  which will give greater protection to the Barbary macaque by moving this endangered species from Appendix II to Appendix 1 on its protection list.

One of the main threats to this primate is that youngsters are popular as pets and this upgrading of their status will give them greater protection from poaching and the illegal pet trade as well as promoting conservation of the species.

The Barbary macaque is a unique species. It is the only family member of the genus Macaca occurring in Africa and the only non-human primate which occurs north of the Sahara. It is also the only non-human primate living in Europe, where a small semi-wild population inhabits the Rock of Gibraltar. An estimated 6,500 to 9,100 Barbary macaques are left in highly fragmented areas in Morocco and Algeria, with about 200 living on the Rock.

While habitat fragmentation and loss are the main threats to the survival of the Barbary macaque, the illegal trade in live juvenile macaques for the international pet trade is also a significant danger to wild populations. The species has been categorised as Endangered in the IUCN Red List since 2008 and there has been an estimated population decline in excess of 50 per cent over the last three generations (24 years). 

Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page