fter a twelve hour journey to cross the strait to Morocco, Jess Leaper and Steve Bryant from the AWCP arrived in Martil, the town that serves as a temporary home to BMAC Director Sian Waters and Researcher Lucy Radford.
The aim was to locate some of the elusive wild macaque groups in the surrounding forests. ‘Elusive’ might seem a strange term for the Barbary macaques given the gregarious nature of the monkeys in Gibraltar, but wild Barbary macaques are naturally fearful of humans, probably due to persecution. Poaching, loss of habitat and the illegal pet trade has also lead to a decline in numbers of wild macaques in the Atlas Mountains but the Bouhachem groups are in relatively good shape. The BMAC team have recently discovered more groups high up in the mountains.
Jess said: “It was an exhausting but exhilarating trip that rewarded us with not only our first sightings of wild Barbary macaques but also an insight into the fascinating work BMAC carry out, not only researching the macaques but also the important awareness building and the community work they carry out in this area of Morocco.”
In conjunction with other conservation measures being implemented within the Gibraltar Reserve, it’s hoped that as the Ospreys migrate from their wintering grounds in Sub-Saharan Africa, they will be attracted to settle on the Rock and will successfully breed.
A s part of a wider initiative to re-wild the Gibraltar Nature Reserve, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate change (DEHCC) and the Gibraltar Nature Reserve Management Team have begun building and installing artificial nests with decoys in a bid to entice Ospreys back to The Rock.
In consultation with the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society and regional experts from Andalucía, scientists from the Department of the Environment recently joined the regional efforts to increase population numbers.
The last breeding pair were recorded nesting on Gibraltar’s eastside cliffs in the 1930’s, however, thanks in part to successful reintroductions all over Europe during the past decade, these iconic bird of prey can been all year around the Bay.
Celebrating International Macaque Week: May 1st: 1.30pm-4.30pm, Bank Holiday Funday. Fun crafts, keeper talks and more. 2nd – 5th: Children’s workshops 4-5.30pm: Tue&Thu – Barbary Macaque Theme, Wed&Fri – Long-Tailed Macaque Theme.
Check the AWCP Facebook page and website for more info: www.awcp.gi/events.