Morocco Monkeys advice: some good practices

Morocco monkeys

   The Barbary macaque is one of Morocco’s natural attractions, and learning about their way of life is always interesting, as we tell you in this post. But at the same time, it is important to have good behavior towards them, because it is a species in danger of extinction: it is estimated that its population barely reaches 2,000 specimens, most of them concentrated in areas of the Rif and, especially, in the Ifrane National Park, in the Middle Atlas (without counting the hundreds of individuals in the Rock of Gibraltar). So, if you want to make responsible tourism in this regard, here are some tips about Morocco monkeys, so that you can put them into practice during your trip.

Caution and moderate speed

   According to the authorities, one of the main causes of death of these primates is being run over. Therefore, driving with caution and at a moderate speed is basic advice to respect the monkeys of Morocco. When driving in their natural habitats, be careful because many of these macaques unconsciously cross the road or even approach the road on purpose in search of food (remains of garbage that may be left in the ditches). For this reason, it is possible to encounter them at conflicting points, such as curves or changes in gradients. So if you are going to drive on one of these roads, pay close attention to the information signs, which warn of the proximity of Morocco monkeys and the risk of being run over.

Don’t feed the Morocco monkeys

   The Barbary macaque’s natural habitat is the cedar forest, like the one in Ifrane National Park. It is from these trees that they take their seeds, as well as other natural resources for their food. But it will be easier and tastier for them to resort to the food provided by humans, even though it is far from being the most advisable: some studies show obesity and the consequent reduction of life expectancy in many of them. In this regard, we cannot overlook the peanut stalls that local citizens run for tourists to feed the macaques, but experts warn that, in the long run, this is not a good practice for these animals.

Do not touch or interact with the Morocco monkeys

   Although it may be tempting to interact with the monkeys in Morocco, it is not recommended. They are likely to approach you, usually in a friendly manner, although at other times to get their hands on your backpack, especially if there is food in them. But the most advisable thing to do is to be as unnoticed as possible, without disturbing them, observing them without being invasive. For example, with binoculars when they are located in the branches of the cedars. In addition, different experts warn that physical contact increases the risk of disease transmission, both in one direction (man>monkey) and in the other (monkey>man).

Do not encourage its use as a ‘monkey fair’.

Morocco monkeys

  The term ‘fairground monkey’ is, unfortunately, perfectly applicable to monkeys in Morocco: many fairgrounds exhibit them in stalls for tourists to see or even take pictures with them. But this is a bad practice to which you should not contribute: the specimens on display are usually offspring taken from their families, living in chains and deprived of their freedom. Therefore, if you find this type of activity in squares such as Jemaa el Fna or others in the country, refuse to participate in them. And of course, taking any of these specimens out of the country is strongly punishable by law, as they are native and protected animals… although unfortunately, poaching exists and smuggling, too.

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