We work to protect dwindling Barbary macaque populations in Northern Africa.
Due to habitat loss and poaching for the exotic pet ownership, Barbary macaques are endangered animals and have been listed on CITES Appendix I; which generally prohibits international trade in these species to prevent extinction. Poachers visiting or living in Morocco find and capture infant and juvenile macaques. Then, they either sell them to vendors for use as entertainment in touristic hubs across the country, or they smuggle them into Europe for the exotic pet industry in places like Spain, France, and Belgium.
Our attention focuses on Ifrane National Park in the Middle Atlas in Morocco, where over 50% of the world’s Barbary macaques live. We’ve hired 10 local scouts to monitor the macaque population by patrolling 125.000 ha every day and every night and reporting on any poaching attempts or threats in Ifrane National Park. We’re also educating thousands of park visitors about these primates and advocating to stop illegal logging in the park to save their natural habitat.
In addition, our community engagement work focuses on helping community members identify and take action on important issues, once of which is reducing human-wildlife conflict at small-scale fruit farms close to the park.
We’re also working with Moroccan authorities including customs officials, police and wildlife officers, to build their capacity through our DISRUPT and LAST trainings and strengthen the screening process that detects wildlife smuggling at the country’s borders. In cases where macaques are found and confiscated, we work to ensure that the animals are humanely handled and properly cared for, and that the law enforcement agents remain safe and uninjured.
We are happy to report that since the project began in 2017, there is an average macaque population increase of 31.1%. This is an annual increase of 9.5% in 13 monitored macaque groups. Apart from continuous monitoring by the scouts, this is a result of the various DISRUPT and LAST trainings organized by IFAW which have contributed to 400+ animals being identified and released back into the wild. To date, we’ve also visited more than 30 schools to raise awareness among children, and had over 50 farmers attend our community-wide meetings.
All of this work is done through Born to be Wild, a project ensuring the sustainable protection of the endangered Barbary macaque. The project is funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery (Nationale Postcode Loterij), initiated by AAP Animal Advocacy and Protection and executed together with IFAW.