The status of the Barbary macaque
The status of the species has recently been upgraded from “vulnerable” to “endangered” by IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature).
Unfortunately there are less than 10,000 individuals surviving in the wild, which is very few.
Out of Africa !
Our monkeys are Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus).
They come from Morocco and Algeria where they live in the mountains at altitudes of up to 2000 m.
A species well adapted to our climate
The climate there is similar to our own: temperate with cold and snowy winters and hot summers. This is why in our park the Barbary macaques can live outside during the whole year.
Their fur is very long in winter, short in summer and they moult in the spring.
Another adaptation concerns births: babies are born in the very favourable seasons of spring and early summer. This is because temperatures are mild and there is plenty of vegetation so the mother can find enough food to produce rich milk for her baby.
Did you know? Barbary macaques were widespread throughout North Africa 300 years ago
Barbary macaques live in groups with almost as many males as females.
Each group has a social hierarchy. At the top is a male always in the prime of life, generally aged between 10 and 15 years old. Among the males in this age class, the chief is the one who has the best support.
He got his rank due to his personality: he created alliances with important monkeys within his group which support him.
How can we distinguish between males and females?
Males are much larger and weigh about 17 kilos, whereas the females weigh only 13 kilos.
Females become adults at 6 years, males at about 8 years.
Contrary to most primate species, male Barbary macaques care for the babies even from the first days of their life. They carry them, groom them and protect them. Their attitude towards the babies is very friendly.
They use babies as social mediators in order to generate friendly contact with other males from their group.