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|Common Name:||Barbary macaque||Family:||Ceropithecidae|
|Latin Name:||Macaca sylvanus||Diet:||Herbivore|
|Native To:||Africa||Social Unit:||Group|
|IUCN Red List Status:||Endangered|
Barbary macaques at Edinburgh Zoo
As of September 2009, Edinburgh Zoo has 12 Barbary macaques. Our oldest macaque is named Hanan. She was born here at Edinburgh Zoo in June 1991. In November 2007, we received one male and four females from Rheine Zoo, Germany. The females of this group included Farah, born in 2002, Franka, born in 2003, Fame, born in 2004, and Frances, born in 2007. The male, Farouk, was born in 2005.
We received two more females from Norfolk Wildlife Park in February 2008. These two females, Barbie and Barbarella, settled in with the group with Germany.
October 2008 saw the arrival of two males and two females from Berlin Zoo. The males, Yousef and Hassan, were both born in July 2007 while the two girls, Shada and Amina, were born in May 2005. After careful introductions, the four joined the first group and have settled in well.
Barbary macaques have special pouches in their cheeks designed to carry food while they forage for more. To make them hunt for their food as they would in the wild, our keepers scatter their food around their enclosure to encourage natural foraging behaviour.
Where it can be found at Edinburgh Zoo
Our Barbary macaques can be found in the monkey house.
Barbary macaques in the wild
The Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus), also known as the Barbary ape, was once widespread throughout North Africa but now it is only found in small areas of forest and scrub in Morocco and Algeria. It can also be found in the Rif mountains of northern Morocco and the Middle and High Atlas mountains of central and southern Morocco. There is also an introduced population of Barbary macaques on Gibraltar.
Barbary macaques live in high-altitude cedar forests, oak forests, coastal scrub, and overgrazed rocky slopes with vestigial vegetation. They are mainly confined to inaccessible rocky areas, gorges, and montane areas, because conflict with humans has driven them from more favourable areas.
These primates have a medium-length buff-brown coat with lighter undersides, with a dark pink face and a short, vestigial tail.
Barbary macaques feed on leaves roots, and fruit, but will also eat insects. They live in social groups of around 10 – 30 individuals of both sexes, although group size can sometimes grow up to 80 individuals. The group is matriarchal, with its hierarchy determined by lineage to the lead female. Unlike other macaques, the males participate in rearing the young, and much of their time is spent grooming and playing with them. Females of the group tend to favour males that spend more time contributing to parental duties.
Barbary macaques are facing many threats in the wild. Habitat loss due to intensive logging and land-clearing for farming puts a great deal of pressure on the fragmented populations of macaques that are left. Overgrazing by livestock further degrades the macaques’ habitat, and this is made worse by drought. Human persecution and predation by feral dogs are yet more threats to this species. Because of these threats and the resulting decline in population numbers, the Barbary macaque has been listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an Endangered species. This means that Barbary macaques are facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
IUCN Red List category: Endangered
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