Say Cheese #2: Gibraltar’s Barbary Macaques

Gibraltar is an interesting & unusual place. You realise this the first time you touch down in the airport and notice that your are landing on a motorway that has been closed at both ends like a level crossing. The unusual qualities only become more apparent after more time spent there. It is a peninsular, that whilst attached to Spain is under British Sovereignty. This means that you get amazing Mediterranean weather in a place that has police in British uniforms, UK style post boxes and the Queen on its money. Oh and also they have monkeys! In fact the hotel we stayed in at the time had notices in the rooms saying not to leave your windows open as they will get in and trash the rooms.

Unfortunately, during the visit we had only seen them in the distance cavorting up the Rock of Gibraltar. However, just as we were leaving a few came and had a little sit down in the car park. This is the photo taken below.

Click for high-res version

The Barbary macaque is (other than humans) the only free living primate in Europe. They are unusual in Monkey populations in that they do not have a tale. This means that they were originally classified as being more closely related to apes than monkeys. However, due to the rise of the genetics we now know they are closer to monkeys than apes. They are one of the “Old World Monkeys”.

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