You might wonder why the UK is involved in the behavior of animals on the eastern tip of Spain. According to folklore, The Rock would cease to be British if the primates leave.
During World War II, the population dwindled to just seven monkeys. Sir Winston Churchill ordered that their numbers be replenished immediately from both Morocco and Algeria due to this traditional belief.
Another popular story tells of a link from Gibraltar to Africa by a subterranean passage over 15 miles (24 km). Legend has it that the Barbary Macaques entered The Rock from Morocco this way.
The Gibraltar monkey population, initially a single troop, was under the care of the British Army and later the Gibraltar Regiment from 1915 to 1991. An officer was appointed to supervise their welfare, and a food allowance of fruit, vegetables and nuts was included in the budget. In true military fashion soldiers gazetted births, and named each new arrival. Following the withdrawal of the British garrison, the Government of Gibraltar took over responsibility for the monkeys.
Unfortunately, animals take no notice of warnings so officials tagged the worst offenders with GPS collars. After observing the apes activity, officials caught the marauders to quarantine them in Gibraltar’s nature reserve. The 30 apes, 11 males and 19 females, along with two handlers will fly by chartered cargo plane from the Mediterranean outpost to the UK on Tuesday.
At their new home, a large enclosure including trees and a large rocky mound for climbing has been prepared for them. Imagine their shock at being confined after roaming as they please.
I guess, after being encouraged to expand their numbers on foreign soil, the macaques took advantage of every situation. Now, the nation who made this possible must control their wayward dependents.
Are there any imported animals causing trouble near you?