Gibraltar Monkeys - secure your adventure online now
Only place to safely and ethically interact with the Gibraltar Monkeys under the guidance and supervision of a specialist guide.
Visiting the Gibraltar Monkeys
Sometimes referred to as the Gibraltar Monkeys or the Gibraltar Barbary Ape. The real name of this fascinating animal is the Barbary Macaque (Macaca Sylvanus).
Although referred to as Apes, the Barbary Macaque is a tailless monkey. If you look closely, you can see that they have a tiny tail. As they do not hold from trees that regularly and are regularly in the ground, evolution has merited the tail as not required.
The male Barbary macaque has a life expectancy of 25 years. Females tend to live longer, up to 30 years. The Gibraltar Barbary Macaque is the only free-living primate in Europe.
We know that they originate from North Africa. Furthermore, it is assumed that the Moors must have brought them over as pets during the 14th Century.
Where to find the Gibraltar Monkeys?
The Barbary Macaques are usually found within the Nature Reserve of the Rock of Gibraltar. Common areas within the Upper Rock are in Royal Anglican Way and near St. Michael’s Cave, Skywalk, Cable Car Stations, and Princess Caroline.
Alternatively, you can also check the rest of the tours available in Gibraltar.
Barbary Macaque Experience
Barbary Macaque Behaviours
Social System and Behaviour
The Gibraltar Barbary Macaques live in a unisex pack, with males migrating from their natal packs.
Barbary Macaques packs are therefore composed of groups of related adult females with their offspring and unrelated adult males.
Packs can contain up to 80 individuals. However, the average pack size is around 40 individuals living in a highly wide ranged mating system.
All pack members are ranked in a linear dominance rank structure, with adult males usually outranking females.
Higher ranking members of the pack are more successful in mating and have priority to food and water. Related females occupy adjacent ranks, and daughters rank below their mothers, similar to a Human Hierarchy.
It is usually the rank of the offspring’s mother that determines their position in the pack. Dominance ranking results from pack members fighting with each other. The pack supports their kin by being frequently being in close contact, proximity, and grooming each other.
It is thought that the rank within the pack is a social outcome, resulting from and determined by, personality and other physical characteristics.
The theory is that low ranking or emigrating macaques with high confidence should be more likely to achieve high rank in a new pack. Also, high-ranking confident individuals should maintain their rank position longer.
This is the most common behaviour primates use to reconcile and maintain friendly social relationships.
Dominant individuals have a more robust and more extensive network of grooming interactions with their peers. Less dominant primates have fewer peers to practise this behaviour.
Therefore, grooming is vital to the reconciliation functions that reduce the risk of renewed aggression.
This is vital because these individuals will incur higher costs in terms of damage to their relationship and its associated benefits for individual fitness.