A renegade group of Gibraltar’s Barbary apes has annoyed residents so much that the authorities have announced plans to kill them.
A colony of about 200 apes inhabit the high ground of Gibraltar, the British colony off the southern tip of Spain. I can say from experience that they’re generally harmless but can be a little frightening, especially to children, because they’re inclined to snatch anything edible from your hand or bag.
But this breakaway cluster of 25 moved to a popular beach area called Catalan Bay some months ago and they’ve been stealing food, entering rooms through open windows and harassing tourists.
The territory’s tourism minister, Ernest Britto, has decided to kill the beach-dwelling group. “The decision was not taken lightly – it’s a last resort,” Britto told the Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper. He said the monkeys posed a danger to public health. The newspaper said two animals had already been captured and given lethal injections.
The decision has, however, been condemned by animal protection groups including the International Primate Protection League (IPPL) in the UK, who say they are willing to work alongside the government to manage the apes. The IPPL also said it would consider calling on UK citizens to boycott Gibraltar’s tourist industry until the culling method was stopped.
by Andy Moreton