Home of the yacht "RHUMB DO"













the 'apes'


The Rock Apes of Gibraltar………









.................are in fact monkeys, the Barbary Macque Macaca sylvanus, an African primate, native of Morocco and Algeria. 

They are medium sized, uniform in colour, usually ochre-brown but can be grey to blonde.  The average male weighs 14kg and the female 11kg.  Barbary macques live in large groups and uniquely males are non-aggressive towards each other, and infants from new-born receive special caring attention. 

They may originally have been imported during the Moorish occupation (711 to 1492).  As numbers increased, various troops descended from the rock into the town looking for food, water and amusement, robbing fruit trees, and entering houses to re-arrange furniture.  Complaints of vandalism resulted in the appointment of an “Officer-in-charge” of the ‘apes’ (1913) to feed the monkeys.  

Numbers were reinforced during the 2nd World War with imports from Morocco on the orders of Winston Churchill.  The legend that as long as the ‘apes’ remain, the Rock will be British, may have resulted from an incident when the monkeys woke British defenders during the Great Siege of 1779-83 as Spanish invaders attempted a surprise attack.

The current population of 200 monkeys are fed and managed by the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society and encouraged to remain in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.  However, they still occasionally descend into the town in small groups...... perhaps to look at the tourists?