Tim and Gaston visit the barbary macaques in Morocco
Tim and Gaston visit the Born to be Wild-project in Morocco. The goal of this project is to protect the berber monkeys against poachers, illegal trade, conflicts between humans and animals, the effects of illegal deforestation, etc.
Born to be Wild is an initiative of the AAP Foundation, executed in collaboration with IFAW and sponsored by the members of The Postcode Lottery. The video will start in Dutch and continu in English.
The scouts work in a team of 10 people, including the teamleader. Normally they work with 7 people, but during tourist season they include 3 more. There are always two scouts working a 7 hour shift. In 24 hours there are 3 shifts, so that makes 21 shifts a week. In addition there a 3 shifts on carpatrol. Only between 3.30 and 6.30 nobody’s active, because then the berber monkeys are sleeping, high up in the trees. During summertime sun comes up at 5.30, so then they wake up earlier.
Tim and Gaston are nearby Ifrane National Park. Morocco has 11 national parks. 80% of the berber monkeys live in Morocco, 20% in neighbouring country Algeria and furthermore they released 200 out in the wild in Gibraltar.
The main purpose of a scout is to monitor the berber monkeys. Every group of berber monkeys has its own name, for instance yellow group or Charlie group. Every group has its own location more or less, which is called spot including a number, for instance spot 4. Sometimes multiple groups come together in the same location, but normally they vary. Sometimes some groups get into a fight with each other. In this region there are 13 groups, varying from 10 to 70 monkeys. Most groups are a bit smaller. You can devide them into 3 sorts of groups: touristgroups, semi-wild (monkeys that are familiar with humans) and wild. Tim and Gaston have seen 2 semi-wild groups so far. When the monkeys spotted them, they flew high up in the trees. The scouts know the structure of each and every group exactly: babies, 1 year olds, 2 year olds, 3 year olds, females and males. Each group has an alpha male.
There are lots of locations with touristmonkeys. The monkeys have a free life, but they seem completely depending on humans. They get bread, nuts, apples, chips, etc from them. Very sad to witness. They just sit there between people and on the cars. Because of this they have an extremely unhealthy life and a few of them are completely swollen (obese). Foodvendors are always there to sell food for the monkeys. Because they are part of the human system, they become an easy prey for poachers.
Tim and Gaston are also told what the monkeys should normally eat: fruits of the cedar and oak trees, a type of berry and blackberries. They also eat the cedartrees cortex. There are different opinions on why they do that: it contains calcium (woodworms) and/or proteins, or because of the lack of water. This is often unknown amongst tourists.
Scouts can be recognized by their clothes, but they have no authorization. One of the jobs of the scouts is to discover poachers and collect evidence. They keep a safe distance and call authorities if needed. They do this also for illegal deforestation of thinner oaktrees in particular. Trees that are aloud to be cut have a red mark on them. Also when they spot campfires, they tell people to keep the fire small, to put it out with water and to cover it up with stones. Touristmonkeys are sometimes cought by poachers and live an unhealthy life and are also often killed by traffic, because they just lie and sit on the street etc.