Friday, January 7, 2011

Barbary Macaque

The barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) is a species of Old World monkey found in northern Africa and southern Europe.  Although, in some places it is also called the "Barbary Ape," it is a monkey and not an ape.

Physical Features
The barbary macaque is grayish brown in color, with a small and stubby tail.  It has a hairless face and large cheek pouches to store food.  The length from their head till their tail is about 55 cm to 76 cm (22 to 30 inches).  Females are about 20% smaller than males.  These macaques weigh about 4.5 kilograms to 9 kilograms.  The front limbs of this monkey is longer than its hind limbs.  Their face is pink in color.  These monkeys can live in the wild for 20 years while in captivity, they can live for 30 years.

Diet                                                                            A barbary macaque feeding
Barbary macaques are omnivores.  They feed on mostly plant material like leaves, fruits, seeds, tubers, acorns, shoots, barks and pine needles.  They like to eat insects and especially caterpillars.

Distribution and Habitat
Barbary macaques are found in northern Africa and southern Europe.  The countries they are found in are: Tunisia, Morocco, Gibraltar and Algeria.  They live in the Atlas mountains and  forests.

Barbary macaques live in groups of 40 or less and are active during day time.  They spend more time on land than other macaques.  They make many different monkey like noises.

Life Cycle
Female barbary macaques give birth to only one young in a year after a gestation period of 210 days.  The young one is weaned for one year.  Females reach maturity at the age of 4 years while males reach maturity at the age of 7 years.

The range of the barbary macaque has greatly reduced.  It used to be found widely across north of Africa but now only found in three countries in the north.  It has an estimated population of 15,000 individuals.  It was re introduced to the European country, Gibraltar.  It is currently rated as vulnerable.

Source of picture 1:
Source of picture 2:   

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