Dream Daddies from the Rock

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/science/15fath.html?emc=eta1 (good read)

I saw my last family of Barbary apes (macaques) at the Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park ( The Las Vegas Zoo). I believe this is the only captive group left in North America.  Barbary macaques have vestigial tails, and hence they have been given the dubious nickname “ape.” These monkeys are the only free-ranging, non-human primates  in Europe.  They are also the only macaques among the twenty or so extant species to originate outside of  Asia with a historic range throughout North Africa. Barbary macaques live in mixed groups of both sexes and among macaque households the males do play an active role as parents.

A noted Spanish historian wrote that the monkeys of the Rock (of Gibraltar) were dedicated inhabitants of Gibraltar:

-Neither the incursions of Moor, the Spaniards nor the English, nor cannon nor bomb of either have been able to dislodge them-

I’m glad to know that they are well cared for today. In fact, the apes are the most popular attraction in the area among tourists.

The monkeys are currently managed by the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS) and veterinary services are  provided by the Gibraltar Veterinary Clinic (GVC). The macaques receive a daily supply of fresh water and vegetables, fruit and seeds as supplement to natural food resources (leaves, olives, roots, seeds and flowers). The animals are caught on a regular basis in order to check their health status….  The animals are given a tattoo number and a micro chip as a means of identification.  All monkeys are photographed and the pictures together with individual characteristics catalogued. Cataloguing work is carried out by the GONHS…….

Once every year, a census is conducted in order to actualise data and monitor reproductive success of the whole population. These demographic data are important for the management of the population generally, but also when it comes to the point of fertility regulation in selected individuals. Since Barbary macaque females reproduce well, the population on Gibraltar is steadily increasing, which in turn puts pressure on the limited habitat. Animal population control is therefore an essential part of the effective management of the Gibraltar monkey population.”- GONH

Happy Father’s Day

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