The Barbary Macaque is a large primate native to the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. There is a large population of Barbary Macaques on the rock of Gibraltar in the south west of Europe, making them the only monkey native to Europe.
Barbary Macaques once ranged right across Europe. Indeed their fossils have been found as far north as Norfolk in the Britain. There may have been a land bridge between Britain and Ireland during this time so it is possible macaques could have walked across this land bridge to Ireland. Any evidence of their natural occurrence here may long have washed away.
Incredibly, Barbary Macaque fossils have been found in Ireland. Barbary macaque skeletons, some dating back to 2,500 years have been uncovered in Ireland. The most significant of which was discovered in Navan Fort in County Armagh. It would suggest that trade routes were open at the time between Ireland and the Mediterranean. Ancient Celtic Chieftains may have been keeping Barbary macaques as pets.
Barbary Macaques are found in very cold climates, high up in the Atlas Mountains. They have thick fur which help them cope with the cold. We often associate monkeys with tropical climates, however our Barbary Macaques are well adapted to cope with our climate here in County Donegal.
Barbary macaques are under pressure in the wild from over hunting and loss of habitat. Many baby monkeys are stolen form the wild and sold into the pet trade. Our monkeys have been rescued from the pet trade. They are too habituated to humans to ever survive back in the wild so we are delighted that we can offer them a forever home on our large natural island in Wild Ireland.
All of our Macaques have come to us from a rescue centre and charity in Spain called AAP. AAP rescue all sorts of primates and other exotic animals from unsuitable conditions around the world. AAP have rescue centres in Holland and in Spain.
Barbary macaque populations are under extreme pressure in the wild. Poachers steal baby macaques from their mothers in order to sell them on the illegal black market as pets or photographers props on tourist beaches.
In order to capture a baby macaque the mother is usually shot and the baby is ripped from her dying arms. Poachers will also chase the entire group of monkeys with dogs until they drop a baby in the confusion. Poachers will use traps, poison and even fire to kill adult monkeys, just to steal the babies.
The majority of the babies die soon after their capture. Those that survive face a very cruel and lonely life in circuses, as photographer’s props or as pets. Monkeys do not make good pets. They have huge teeth and they cannot be housetrained.
Please, do not support this cruel trade. Please do not pose with monkeys or other wildlife for photographs on holidays.
Meet our monkeys
Troy is the leader of the group. Troy was born around 2011. Troy was stolen from his family in the wild by cruel poachers. Troy was sold on the internet and he was discovered being kept as a pet, illegally in Belgium. The owners surrendered Troy to a sanctuary where he was rehabilitated to live with other monkeys again. Unfortunately, like the rest of our macaques, Troy will never be able to return to the wild as he never learned the skills necessary to survive. He will live out the rest of his life here in a natural environment
Soho is estimated to have been born around 2004. Again Soho was stolen from the wild and sold into the illegal pet trade. He was found in France and confiscated. Soho and Nokando were introduced to each other first and are old friends. After Soho and Nokando were confiscated they moved from sanctuary to sanctuary. We are delighted that they have come to Wild Ireland where we can offer them a permanent home.
Nokando is estimated to have been born around, 2001. Nokando was also stolen from his family in the Wild and sold to a circus in France. He was confiscated from the circus on 18th December, 2009. He has had to be rehabilitated and learn how to be a monkey again, He is very happy to be a part of a group of his own species and is rehabilitating well.
Port, is estimated to have been born around 2007/8, Port was Confiscated from an Algerian ship by the Spanish Guardia Civil. Port was stolen from his family in the wild by cruel poachers and sold to the sailors as a novelty to be kept on board. This was not a suitable environment for a macaque.
Juma is the youngest member of the group, estimated to have been born around 2011. He was found wandering the streets as a stray. His owners were later found and he was confiscated. He has had a traumatic past and sometimes shows some abnormal behavior as a result of his mistreatment. He is very settled now in his group here at Wild Ireland.We are working to rehabilitate Juma. Juma was very traumatised by his tragic past. As a result of the abuse Juma sometimes exhibits self harming behavior. The behavior is getting better now that he is in a social group on a large island. We hope that his recovery will continue here at Wild Ireland