Out of Asia: The Singular Case of the Barbary Macaque

  • Bonaventura Majolo
  • Els van Lavieren
  • Laëtitia Maréchal
  • Ann MacLarnon
  • Garry Marvin
  • Mohamed Qarro
  • Stuart Semple
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR, volume 43)


The Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) is the only species of the genus Macaca living outside Asia. Currently, two disjointed and highly fragmented populations of this species exist in the wild, in Morocco and Algeria. The Barbary macaque is listed as endangered in the IUCN 2010 Red List of Threatened Species and the total population size in the wild is estimated at between 5,000 and 6,000 individuals. Outside Africa, a free-ranging population of macaques inhabits the Rock of Gibraltar. The Barbary macaque can be considered a flagship species of the cedar and oak forests of Morocco and Algeria. Despite this, little is known about the population structure, ecology and behaviour of wild Barbary macaques. Scarce data exist on the effect of human activity on the conservation and behaviour of this species. In this chapter, we review the literature on wild Barbary macaques to describe their ecology and behaviour. We discuss the factors threatening the survival of this species, and the history of human-macaque interactions in Morocco and Algeria, as well as in Gibraltar. Moreover, we analyse the effect of tourist pressure on the behaviour of the Barbary macaque at our field site in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco, as a case study of human-macaque interactions.


Activity Budget Illegal Trade Macaque Species Barbary Macaque Intraspecific Aggression 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Sindhu Radhakrishna, Anindya Sinha and Michael Huffman for inviting us to contribute to this volume. We thank the Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts et à la Lutte Contre la Désertification of Morocco for research permission to conduct research in Morocco. Richard McFarland and Chris Young provided useful data for this chapter and made an important contribution to our research in Morocco. Finally, we thank Abderrahmane Rakkas and Itto Fenani for their hospitality and logistical help in the field.


  1. Abegg C, Thierry B (2002) Macaque evolution and dispersal in insular Southeast Asia. Biol J Linn Soc 75:555–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altmann J (1974) Observational study of behaviour sampling methods. Behaviour 49:227–265PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Altmann SA (1992) Foraging for survival: yearling baboons in Africa. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago/LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Berman CM, Li J, Ogawa H, Ionica C, Yin H (2007) Primate tourism, range restriction and infant risk among Macaca thibetana at Mt Huangshan, China. Int J Primatol 28:1123–1141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Camperio Ciani A (1986) La Macaca sylvanus in Marocco: sopravvivenza o estinzione. Osservazioni personali e dati storico-demografici. Antropol Contemporanea 9:117–132Google Scholar
  6. Camperio Ciani A, Palentini L, Arahou M, Martinoli L, Capiluppi C, Mouna N (2005) Population decline of Macaca sylvanus in the Middle Atlas of Morocco. Biol Conserv 121:635–641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cortes J, Shaw E (2006) The Gibraltar macaques: management and future. In: Hodges JK, Cortes J (eds) The Barbary macaque: biology, management and conservation. Nottingham University Press, Nottingham, pp 199–210Google Scholar
  8. de la Torre S, Snowdon CT, Bejarano M (2000) Effects of human activities on wild pygmy marmosets in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Biol Conserv 94:153–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deag JM (1974) A study of the social behaviour and ecology of the wild Barbary macaque Macaca sylvanus. PhD thesis, University of Bristol, UKGoogle Scholar
  10. Deag JM (1977) The status of the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) in captivity and factors affecting its distribution in the wild. Academic, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Deag JM (1984) Demography of the Barbary macaque at Ain Kahla in the Moroccan Moyen Atlas. In: Fa JE (ed) The Barbary macaque: a case study in conservation. Plenum Press, New York, pp 113–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Defter TR (1995) The time budget of a group of wild woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha). Int J Primatol 16:107–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Delson E (1980) Fossil macaques, phyletic relationships and a scenario of deployment. In: Lindburg DE (ed) The macaques: studies in ecology, behavior and evolution. Van Nostrand, New York, pp 10–30Google Scholar
  14. Dixson AF (1998) Primate sexuality: comparative studies of the prosimians, monkeys, apes, and human beings. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  15. Dunbar RIM (1991) Functional significance of social grooming in primates. Folia Primatol 57:121–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Engel GA, Pizarro M, Shaw E, Cortes J, Fuentes A, Barry P, Lerche N, Grant R, Cohn D, Jones-Engel L. (2008) Unique pattern of enzootic primate viruses in Gibraltar macaques. Emerging Infctious Diseases, 14, 1112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fa JE (1981) The apes on the rock. Oryx, 16, 73-76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fa JE (1984a) The Barbary macaque: a case study in conservation. Plenum Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fa JE (1984b) Structure and dynamics of the Barbary macaque population in Gibraltar. In: Fa JE (ed) The Barbary macaque: a case study in conservation. Plenum Press, New York, pp 3–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fa JE (1986) Use of time and resources by provisioned troops of monkeys. Social behaviour, time and energy in the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) at Gibraltar. Karger, Basel/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  21. Fa JE (1989) The genus Macaca: a review of taxonomy and evolution. Mamm Rev 19:45–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fa JE (1992) Visitor-directed aggression among the Gibraltar macaques. Zoo Biol 11:43–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fa JE, Lind R (1996) Population management and viability of the Gibraltar Barbary macaques. In: Fa JE, Lindburg DG (eds) Evolution and ecology of macaque societies. Noyes, Park Ridge, pp 270–290Google Scholar
  24. Fooden J (1976) Provisional classification and key to living species of macaques (Primates: Macaca). Folia Primatol 25:225–236PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fooden J (2007) Systematic review of the Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus (Linnaeus, 1758). Fieldiana Zool 113:1–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fuentes A (2006) Patterns and context of human-macaque interactions in Gibraltar. In: Hodges JK, Cortes J (eds) The Barbary macaque: biology, management and conservation. Nottingham University Press, Nottingham, pp 169–184Google Scholar
  27. Goudsmit J, Brandon-Jones D (2000) Evidence from the baboon catacomb in North Saqqara for a west Mediterranean monkey trade route to Ptolemaic Alexandria. J Egypt Archaeol 86:111–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Groves C (2006) From Calpe to catanduanes: Babewynes, apes, marmesettes and othere dyverse bestes. In: Hodges JK, Cortes J (eds) The Barbary macaque: biology, management and conservation. Nottingham University Press, Nottingham, pp 1–16Google Scholar
  29. Hanya G, Ménard N, Qarro M, Ibn Tattou M, Fuse M, Vallet D, Yamada A, Go M, Takafumi H, Tsujino R, Agetsuma N, Wada K (2011) Dietary adaptations of temperate primates: comparisons of Japanese and Barbary macaques. Primates 52:187–198PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hayward MW, Hayward GJ (2009) The impact of tourists on lion Panthera leo behaviour, stress and energetics. Acta Theriol 54:219–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hill DA (1999) Effects of provisioning on the social behaviour of Japanese and rhesus macaques: implications for socioecology. Primates 40:187–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Honess PE, Pizarro M, Sene NN, Wolfensohn SE (2006) Disease transmission in the Barbary and other macaques: risks and implications for the management and conservation. In: Hodges JK, Cortes J (eds) The Barbary macaque: biology, management and conservation. Nottingham University Press, Nottingham, pp 149–168Google Scholar
  33. Hsu MJ, Kao CC, Agoramoorthy G (2009) Interactions between visitors and Formosan macaques (Macaca cyclopis) at Shou-Shan Nature Park, Taiwan. Am J Primatol 71:214–222PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Huff JL, Barry PA (2003) B-virus (Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1) infection in humans and macaques: potential for zoonotic disease. Emerg Infect Dis 9:246–250PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kenney JS, Smith JID, Starfield AM, McDouglas CW (1995) The long-term effects of tiger poaching on population viability. Conserv Biol 9:1127–1133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lilly AA, Mehlman PT (1993) Conservation update on the Barbary macaque: declining distribution and population size in Morocco. In: A A V V (eds) Proceedings of the 16th annual meeting of the American Society of Primatologists, SturbridgeGoogle Scholar
  37. Majolo B, McFarland R, Young C, Qarro M (under review) The effect of climatic factors on the activity budgets of a temperate primate, the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus)Google Scholar
  38. Maréchal L (2010) Tourism effects on behaviour, anxiety and physiological stress levels of wild male Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in Morocco. Unpublished MRes thesis, University of Roehampton, Roehampton, UKGoogle Scholar
  39. Maréchal L, Semple S, Majolo B, Qarro M, MacLarnon A (2011) Impacts of tourism on anxiety and physiological stress in wild male Barbary macaques. Biol Conserv 144:2188–2193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Martin RD (1997) Outline proposal for effective management of the Gibraltar colony of Barbary macaques. Anthropological Institute, University of Zurich, Zurich.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McFarland R, Majolo B (2011a) Reconciliation and the costs of aggression in wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus): a test of the integrated hypothesis. Ethology 117:928–937CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McFarland R, Majolo B (2011b) Grooming coercion and the post-conflict trading of social services in wild Barbary macaques. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026893
  43. Mehlman PT (1989) Comparative density, demography, and ranging behavior of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in marginal and prime conifer habitats. Int J Primatol 10:269–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ménard N (2002) Ecological plasticity of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). Evolut Anthropol 11:95–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ménard N (2004) Do ecological factors explain variation in social organization? In: Thierry B, Singh M, Kaumanns W (eds) Macaque societies: a model for the study of social organization. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 237–266Google Scholar
  46. Ménard N, Vallet D (1993) Population dynamics of Macaca sylvanus in Algeria: an 8-year study. Am J Primatol 30:101–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ménard N, Vallet D, Gautier-Hion A (1985) Démographie et reproduction de Macaca sylvanus dans différents habitats en Algérie. Folia Primatol 44:65–81PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Modolo L, Salzburger W, Martin RD (2005) Phylogeography of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) and the origin of the Gibraltar colony. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102:7392–7397PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Möhle U, Heistermann M, Dittami J, Reinberg V, Hodges JK (2005) Patterns of anogenital swelling size and their endocrine correlates during ovulatory cycles and early pregnancy in free-ranging Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) of Gibraltar. Am J Primatol 66:351–368PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mouna M, Camperio Ciani A (2006) Distribution and demography of Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) in the wild. In: Hodges JK, Cortes J (eds) The Barbary macaque: biology, management and conservation. Nottingham University Press, Nottingham, pp 239–256Google Scholar
  51. O’Leary H, Fa JE (1993) Effects of tourists on Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in Gibraltar. Folia Primatol 61:77–91PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Robinson JG, Redford KH (1991) Sustainable harvest of neotropical forest mammals. In: Robinson JG, Redford KH (eds) Neotropical wildlife use and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 415–429Google Scholar
  53. Ross JF (2004) La forêt de l’Atlas menacé par les singes? Cour Int 712:24–30Google Scholar
  54. Scheffrahn W, Ménard N, Vallet D, Gaci B (1993) Ecology, demography, and population genetics of Barbary macaques in Algeria. Primates 34:381–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Shaw E, Cortes J (2006) The Gibraltar macaques: origin, history and demography. In: Hodges JK, Cortes J (eds) The Barbary macaque: biology, management and conservation. Nottingham University Press, Nottingham, pp 185–198Google Scholar
  56. Srivastava A, Begum F (2005) City monkeys (Macaca mulatta): a study of human attitudes. In: Paterson JD, Wallis J (eds) Commensalism and conflict: the human-primate interface. American Society of Primatologists, Norman, pp 258–269Google Scholar
  57. Taub DM (1975) Notes and news. Oryx 13:229Google Scholar
  58. Taub DM (1977) Geographic distribution and habitat diversity of the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus L.). Folia Primatol 27:108–133PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Taub DM (1984) A brief historical account of the recent decline in geographic distribution of the Barbary macaque in North Africa. In: Fa JE (ed) The Barbary macaque: a case study in conservation. Plenum Press, New York, pp 71–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Thierry B (2000) Covariation of conflict management patterns across macaque species. In: Aureli F, de Waal FBM (eds) Natural conflict resolution. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  61. Thierry B (2007) Unity in diversity: lessons from macaque societies. Evolut Anthropol 16:224–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Thirgood JV (1984) The demise of the Barbary macaque habitat – past and present cover of the Maghreb. In: Fa JE (ed) The Barbary macaque: a case study in conservation. Plenum Press, New York, pp 19–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. van Lavieren E (2008) The illegal trade in Barbary macaques from Morocco and its impact on the wild population. TRAFFIC Bull 21:123–130Google Scholar
  64. van Lavieren E, Wich SA (2009) Decline of the Barbary macaques Macaca sylvanus in the cedar forest of the Middle Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Oryx 44:133–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. von Segesser F, Ménard N, Gaci B, Martin D (1999) Genetic differentiation within and between isolated Algerian subpopulations of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus): evidence from microsatellites. Mol Ecol 8:433–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Weigler BJ (1992) Biology of B virus in macaque and human hosts: a review. Clin Infect Dis 14:555–567PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bonaventura Majolo
    • 1
  • Els van Lavieren
    • 2
  • Laëtitia Maréchal
    • 3
  • Ann MacLarnon
    • 3
  • Garry Marvin
    • 3
  • Mohamed Qarro
    • 4
  • Stuart Semple
    • 3
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of LincolnLincolnUK
  2. 2.Moroccan Primate Conservation FoundationRandwijk, Amsterdamthe Netherlands
  3. 3.Centre for Research in Evolutionary and Environmental AnthropologyUniversity of RoehamptonLondonUK
  4. 4.Ecole Nationale Forestiére d’IngénieursSaléMorocco

Personalised recommendations