Barbary Macaque

(Macaca sylvanus)

Range and habitat
The Barbary macaque is found in Morocco, Algeria and on the Rock of Gibraltar.The Barbary macaque lives in terrain with mountains and cliffs, but also in valleys. Another favorite habitat are cedar forests, but also other types of forests. The Barbary macaque is unfortunately an endangered species. This is mainly due to poaching and illegal trade. Barbary macaque babies are brutally taken away from their parents by poachers and then end up in people’s homes as pets or are used in the tourist industry. Deforestation is also a major threat to this species.
Did you know?
  • The Barbary macaque has cheek pouches to store food
  • The males are real family guys. They too take care of the young
  • Length 45 โ€“ 60 cm
  • Weight 11 โ€“ 16 kg
  • Lifespan About 22 years
  • Range Morocco, Algeria and on the Rock of Gibraltar
  • Habitat Forests, coastal zone, steep cliffs

A characteristic feature of the Barbary macaque is that its tail is not visible. Unlike many monkey species with a long tail, the Barbary macaque has a small tail that is safely hidden away between its fur. A small tail is useful for the Barbary macaque because the animal lives in areas where it can freeze considerably. A long tail could then die off. The Barbary macaque also has a thick coat that can be gray-yellow to dark gray-brown. The chest and belly are much lighter and the face dark pink.

The animal lives in large groups. Sometimes with almost a hundred together. The Barbary macaque therefore has several partners. In November/December the females are fertile and choose suitable candidates. After a gestation period of about 5.5 months one young is born. The young is allowed to suckle with its mother for a minimum of six months before it must completely switch to solid food. After four to six years they are sexually mature.

The diet of a Barbary macaque consists mainly of leaves, fruits, seeds (favorite are acorns), grass, tree bark, lichens, flowers and mushrooms. This depends on the season. The animal is an omnivore and gets its nutrients also from animal material. For example, a tasty caterpillar or a small bird.

Behaviour and way of life
A group of Barbary macaques has an average size of 24 individuals, but can reach up to about 60 animals. Within the group, males and females form their own hierarchies. ‘Fleecing’ each other is a fixed daily ritual for the social Barbary macaque. How social these animals are is also evident when a young is born. The baby is taken care of by the whole group. This includes the males and the Barbary macaque male shows very different behavior from that of the males of other macaque species. Barbary macaque youngsters play an important role in strengthening relationships within a group.

AAP and barbary macaques

Since 2017, AAP has been trying to secure the survival of the Barbary macaque together with IFAW and other organizations with the ‘Born to be Wild’ project. They do this by protecting, securing and preserving.

Read all about this important project here.