Gibraltar to cull Barbary apes that terrorise tourists
I visited Gibraltar when I was about 7. The only thing I remember from the visit is the apes. Gibraltar is famous for their apes. There is a theory that if the apes were to ever leave Gibraltar, then the territory would cease to be British. Well, now some of them are being forced to make an early exit.
The apes have been terrorising tourists staying in the colony, and as a result, are facing a cull.
A pack of 25 of the Barbary macaques have “run riot” on a beach, have broken into hotel rooms and have been caught scavenging in bins in the town centre.
Vets will track down the tearaways and kill them by lethal injection.
The threat of attacks on humans and the possibility of the spread of disease has forced authorities to approve the cull “as a last resort”.
Ernest Britto, Gibraltar’s tourist minister, defended the plans for the cull, saying: “Children are frightened. People cannot leave their windows open for fear of the monkeys stealing. “Apes can bite, and contact with them runs the risk of salmonella or hepatitis.”
Vets are to track down the tearaways and put them down by lethal injection. Two have already been killed.
The Gibraltar population of the Barbary macaque – a monkey commonly referred to as the Barbary ape because of its stubby tail – numbers more than 200.
They attract hundreds of tourists every day to the areas around Apes Den and the Siege Tunnels at the top of the Rock.
Francis Cantos, the spokesman for the Government of Gibraltar, insisted: “This is being done as a last resort.
“The apes we are targeting are part of a breakaway group that are going into town and making a nuisance as well as posing health hazards.
“They’ve been spotted going through rubbish, vandalising property and stealing from people. They ran riot at the beach at Catalan Bay.”
British soldiers are thought to have first brought apes to Gibraltar in the mid-18th century to be used as target practice.
However, Winston Churchill was so concerned about keeping enough apes there that he had more shipped over from north Africa during the Second World War.