Moroccan government, IFAW and AAP launch local scouts unit to combat poaching of Barbary macaques in Ifrane National Park

Moroccan government, IFAW and AAP launch local scouts unit to combat poaching of
Wednesday, 21 March, 2018
Ifrane, Morocco

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection (AAP), in close cooperation with the High Commission for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification (HCEFLCD) officially launch a new unit of local scouts to combat the poaching of Barbary macaques and protect their natural habitat in Ifrane National Park in Morocco.  

The formation of a local scouts unit is part of “Born to Be Wild”, a project ensuring the sustainable protection of the endangered Barbary macaque. This project is funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery (Nationale Postcode Loterij), initiated by AAP, and executed together with IFAW. The aim is to reduce the poaching of Barbary macaques and to decrease the illegal cutting and burning of trees in Ifrane National Park.

The local scouts will protect the Barbary macaques and their habitat by conducting surveillance patrols in Ifrane National Park – especially at key points where there are higher risks of poaching attempts, and will report all the violations monitored to the governmental authorities concerned, as represented by the HCEFLCD. In addition, IFAW and AAP will further develop the scouts’ capacity through trainings on surveillance, inspection and data collection.

As part of the official launch of the unit, the High Commissioner for Water and Forests, Dr. Abdeladim Lhafi will hand out the necessary equipment – such as GPS, binoculars, cameras, pocket lamps, and tablets– to the scouts, which will allow them to directly report the violations. Since Barbary macaques have increasingly become a tourist attraction, the scouts will also brief tourists and visitors of Ifrane National Park on how to enjoy and co-exist with the Barbary macaques without causing them any harm, and avoid catching transmittable diseases from these animals.

Ifrane National Park is located in the Middle Atlas mountain range in Morocco and is the stronghold of Barbary macaques, home to about half of the remaining 10,000 species, particularly in the native oak and cedar forests. It is also one of the areas where they - especially the young ones - are poached from their natural habitat to be sold in the exotic pet trade in Europe. Barbary macaques have the highest protection under CITES, and are on the IUCN Red List as “endangered” species.

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