Barbary Macaques in Ifrane, a biologist might tear his/her hair

We all love monkeys because they remind us of ourselves. Who wouldn’t want to visit a group distinctive for living in the mountains of Morocco and Algeria, along with a colony in Gibraltar that makes the news now and then? (

It is easy to see the groups that live in the Ifrane National Park because they have become habituated to humans and getting food handouts. I read online “feed them anything you have.” ACK! Don’t people know anything about wild animals? NO FEEDING wild animals.

Visitors don’t recognize these animals as wild considering how close they get, trying to feed and pet them. I kept a bit of distance, knowing these animals can inflict a lot of damage with a scratch or bite.

4.19.16-034It’s also clear that the macaques get a lot more food from handouts than any source in the forest. If tourism declines, they’ll starve. Someone said that different groups occupy the picnic area at different times of the day, rotating through the feeding area. I also heard someone say that when the macaques get tired of peanuts they throw them away, preferring bread. (A vendor sells bananas and peanuts to visitors.) It was fun to see them, but now we need to imagine a way to make visiting the macaques better for the animals. Otherwise, they’ll become obese and diabetic caricatures of us, begging for cokes and big macs.


Published by winifredcreamer

I am a retired archaeologist and I like to travel, especially to places where you can walk along the shore or watch birds. My husband Jonathan and I travel for more than half the year every year, seeing all the places that we haven't gotten to yet.

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