Population explosion forces contraception on Gibraltar's rock apes

The famous Rock apes of Gibraltar are to be given contraception, because while the population of Barbary macaques is growing out of control, local people will not countenance a cull of one of their greatest tourist attractions.

Contraceptives will be hidden in the monkeys' food or some of the females will be given implants to prevent pregnancy. Their population has grown four-fold to 250 in the past five years, since a law was passed making it an offence to kill them. Thirty monkeys are born each mating season.

For the British forces on the rock, renegade packs of the apes already represent one of the biggest threats to their positions since Gibraltar was handed over by the Spanish in 1704.

The marauding tailless monkeys have moved onto Ministry of Defence property near the top of the rock and have begun ripping sensitive and expensive equipment from mountings and chewing up cables. They have also be known to lob stones at passers-by.

Tony Carter, manager of the military estates on the rock, said: "We have had people out from Zurich University looking at ways that we can control them, either by contraception, which the Gibraltar government is looking at, or shipping some of them out to America, where they have not got any Barbary macaques. Culling seems to be a dirty word among Gibraltarians."

Paul Montegriffo, director of Sights Management, which has looked after the apes for the Gibraltar government since 1992, agreed. "Culling is not an option which goes down well locally as we have a particular affection for the monkeys. The main option is contraception of some sort, whether it be administered orally in their food or a series of implants is placed in several females to control the population."

The natural habitat for the macaque is in the Atlas mountains and pine forests of North Africa and it is believed that they were brought to Gibraltar during the Moorish occupation (700-1500AD). The British are recorded as bringing more macaques from Morocco as pets in 1749.

For many years the monkeys were forced to fight for their survival against eagles which carried away their young. In turn, the apes raided the eagles' nests for eggs.

The eagles were finally driven from the rock by the hordes of herring gulls, leaving the apes without a natural enemy and allowing their population to explode.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballIt's not a game to lose, writes Paul Scholes
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Support Worker Vacancies

£60 - £65 per hour + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: Yout...

Newly Qualified Teachers - Primary, Cardiff

£95 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: NEWL...

Teaching Assistant

£60 - £65 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: Teach...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes