Dear Primate Friend,
Earlier this month, IPPL’s own roving zoologist and photojournalist Keri Cairns wrapped up his investigation into North Africa’s Barbary macaques. Remnant wild populations survive in Morocco and Algeria.
Donate to support two groups that are protecting these monkeys in Morocco—and IPPL will match your gift dollar-for-dollar throughout March! (Specify: “For Barbary monkeys.”)
These amazing animals face threats to their survival from habitat destruction, human/macaque conflict, and the trade in young macaques for use as pets or tourist props.
IPPL is helping support two organizations working to protect the Barbary macaque: the Moroccan Primate Conservation Foundation (MPC
) and Barbary Macaque Conservation in the Rif (BMCRif
MPC runs education programs in the High and Middle Atlas mountains, where macaques regularly come into close contact with humans. As a result of these interactions, Keri witnessed numerous problems:
This monkey needs a lesson!
1. Macaques become more aggressive (biting, scratching) as they habituate to humans.
This monkey needs a personal trainer!
2. Macaques develop obesity from easily-acquired human food.
This monkey needs a dentist!
3. Macaques get tooth decay from highly processed treats (bread, chips/crisps, chocolate).
These monkeys don't need anything!
4. Macaque society suffers from a reduction in natural behaviors like grooming, which is important for both hygiene and social cohesion.
Another problem in the Middle Atlas is the fragmentation of habitat. “Ifrane National Park contains the last stands of ancient cedar forest in Morocco,” Keri told us. “Unfortunately, unregulated logging and heavy grazing have taken their toll.” MPC (with the Moroccan government and other nonprofits) has recently drawn up a conservation action plan to start replanting corridors that will connect the remaining patches of forest.
Similarly, our friends at BMCRif have been working hard to improve local peoples’ perception of macaques in the Rif mountains. Their “Shepherd Outreach Programme” is just one example. Prior to the founding of BMCRif in 2004, the shepherds and goatherds would often chase or set their dogs on macaques they encountered. “By working with the shepherds and winning over their trust, BMCRif has discovered a valuable asset to macaque conservation in the region,” Keri reports. “The shepherds are in the forest every day, so they know the territories of the groups. Also, if someone enters the forest to try and take a macaque, the shepherds will contact BMCRif.”
Ahmed El Harrad, deputy director of BMCRif, and a young assistant are at work building a new education center in Morocco to promote the conservation of Barbary macaques.
Work has begun on BMCRif’s education center, where local people will be able to learn practical skills like beekeeping while being exposed to positive conservation messages. “The site is surrounded by cork forest, inhabited by large groups of macaques, on three sides,” says Keri.
You can read and see more about the captive Barbary macaques of Marrakech
and the wild ones of the Cascades d’Ouzoud
on our blog.
Remember to donate now
(specify “for Barbary monkeys”) to give these macaques a chance, and IPPL will match your gift one-for-one through the end of March!
Dr. Shirley McGreal OBE
IPPL Founder and Executive Director