The Apes of Gibraltar

The Barbary Apes of Gibraltar, Macaca Sylvanus, are actually tail-less monkeys and are an unusual and delightful attraction for anyone visiting Gibraltar or the Costa del Sol.No one is really sure how the only wild apes in Europe arrived in Gibraltar and legend has it that were they to leave The Rock then it would fall to the Spanish. The two most popular explanations as to the appearance of the apes of Gibraltar is either that they crossed via a subterranean tunnel from their native Morocco or British sailors introduced them having picked them up on their travels. Whatever the explanation they readily adapted to their new habitat and have lived, bred and been an integral part of Gibraltar for some centuries now.During the second World War their numbers went into a decline and Sir Winston Churchiil, taking a personal interest in the Gibraltar Apes, arranged to have some more imported from Morocco.Since then their numbers have steadily increased and today, in addition to the pack readily seen around the Apes Den, there are five other packs living wild on the steep slopes of the Rock.

The apes of Gibraltar that the visitor sees are very tame and quite cheeky, often climbing on unsuspecting tourists and onto the taxis that bring the tourists to the top of the rock to see them. Most of the taxi drivers know the individual apes and can often tell you quite a lot about them.The tour of the rock can either be undertaken by taxi or you can take the cable car up and then enjoy a very pleasant walk taking in the wonderful views of the Mediterranean to one side and the Atlantic to the other.

You will see lots of Gibraltar apes this way and can stop and enjoy their company and take plenty of photos. The walk will take you down past St. Michael's Cave, which you should definitely visit, before carrying on and picking up the cable car again at it's mid-way stage.

The welfare of the Barbary Apes is now in the hands of the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society and the R.S.P.C.


.Article submitted by Ruth Polak the owner of A web site specializing in holiday villas and apartments on the Costa del Sol and in Rural Andalucia.

You will also find lots of information about Spain and Andalucia, in particular.Article Source:


By: Ruth Polak

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