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Macaca sylvanus | Barbary Macaque | Mono [Spanish]


Good spot: Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar, United Kingdom

© Han Ang

Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar, UK



Taxonomy & Occurrence

Macaca sylvanus is a monotypic species (no subspecies). It is found in the Rif and Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and Algeria, and there is an introduced population on the Upper Rock Nature Reserve in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory [1].

IUCN Conservation Status



The Barbary Macaque is the only macaque in Africa and the only non-human primate in Europe [1]. The species is threatened by the loss of their natural habitat especially in the Middle Atlas, the illegal trade where infants are captured and kept as pets, and the human-wildlife conflicts with farmers. Only about 300 Barbary Macaques are found in Gibraltar, ~3,500 to 12,000 individuals in Algeria, and approximately 10,000 individuals in Morocco [S. Waters, pers. comm.]. The Barbary Macaque Awareness & Conservation (BMAC) focuses on community conservation and public outreach in Morocco.

Seeing this Species


Barbary Macaques have such a short, unnoticeable tail (0.4 to 2.2 cm) [2] that they are sometimes called Barbary Apes (not true apes, of course). Some males have a more prominent tail.


When watching the Barbary Macaques and other wildlife, it is important to maintain a distance of at least 7 metres from them, keep food out of sight, and avoid feeding them. Note that it is illegal to feed or touch the macaques at Gibraltar. Never support the exploitation of Barbary Macaques as photo props.


Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar, United Kingdom 

The ~300 Barbary Macaques in Europe are only found in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve in Gibraltar. They are roughly divided into five groups:

(1) Watching the group at the Top Station of the Cable Car is sure to be an exhilarating experience with the breathtaking views of the nature reserve and the Mediterranean Sea.

(2) There's a group at the St Michael’s Cave right after entering the nature reserve via the Jews Gate.

(3) A third group can be observed at the Prince Phillip’s Arch.

(4) A popular tourist spot at the nature reserve is called the Apes Den at the Queen’s Gate, where a fourth group can be found.

(5) Lastly, the monkeys can also be seen at the northern part of the Rock, near the Great Siege Tunnels and Moorish Castle.


How to get there

There are three ways to enter the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, either via the Cable Car, the Moorish Castle, or the Jews Gate. The easiest would be via the Cable Car. The cable car runs every 10 to 15 minutes and takes about 6 minutes to reach the top of the Rock.

Upper Rock Nature Reserve ticket prices: Adults £13 / Children £8 (ages 5 to 11)

Probability of success: ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆


Overlapping species: None


Other sites:

Ifrane National Park, Middle Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Overlapping species: None

Local contacts:




Macaca sylvanus Gibraltar
Macaca sylvanus Gibraltar

Overlooking the Rock of Gibraltar

© Han Ang

Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar, UK

An adult Barbary Macaque relaxing

© Han Ang

Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar, UK


[1] Wallis J., Benrabah M.E., Pilot M., Majolo B. and Waters S., 2020. Macaca sylvanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T12561A50043570. 

[2] Fooden J., 2007. Systematic review of the Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus. New series No. 113. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.


Page Last Updated: 28 October 2020

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