Like countless other wildlife species, young monkeys are illegally taken from the wild by poachers, smuggled out of their country, and sold for the international exotic pet trade. The endangered Barbary macaque, the only primate species found north of the Sahara in Africa, is unfortunately no exception to that.
In 2017, IFAW embarked on the important mission to save the Barbary macaque in Morocco and tackle illegal trade in wildlife between Europe and North Africa.
Fortunately, we were not alone in this venture. Our team counted on the infallible support of the authorities in Morocco, the Department of Waters and Forestry, and our partner Animal Advocacy and Protection (AAP), which operates wildlife rescue centres in Europe. With this proverbial dream team composed, we worked as a task force and focused on ensuring that frontline officers can carry their important mission stop wildlife traffickers and rescue seized animals.
Learning rescue procedures
We began by reviewing seizure data and records to analyse the unfortunate trends in wildlife trafficking. By doing so, we were better prepared for the sheer number and variety of wild species that wildlife smugglers attempt to transport across borders. In 2018, we gathered law enforcement officers in Rabat for the first training on Humane Handling and Care of Confiscated Wildlife ever held in Morocco. During these four days, participants learned new procedures and skills like setting up a short-term terrarium for lizards and safely removing sticky tape from bird feathers.
Like many wild animals, Barbary macaques are fascinating in the wild, but can be very dangerous up close, especially if they are in stressful situations like captivity. To ensure the safety of officers and animals, frontline officers needed to know the best practices for the handling and care of Barbary macaques. The team used a plush monkey to practice their freshly acquired skills in situations that mimicked real-life experiences. We're proud of the team's hard work and admire the brave frontline officers in Morocco who play a large role in saving Barbary macaques.
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