Is true: Using endangered barbary macaques could negatively impact Moroccan tourism
Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus, L.), the only primate species endemic to Morocco and Algeria, have been categorized as ‘endangered to extinction’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species since 2008. It is prohibited to sell or keep them as pets.
Despite the restrictions, barbary macaques are used as photo props for tourists, principally in Marrakech’s famous Jemaa el-Fna square (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and reportedly in other major Moroccan cities and Algeria. An infant macaque might act as a photo prop 18 times per hour costing visitors as much as 100 Dirhams (~£20). This practice could earn their handlers the equivalent of an average monthly Moroccan household income in just 3-4 working days.
Macaques have recently been re-classified from vulnerable to endangered status because roughly three hundred a year are being taken from the wild to be sold as pets. Also, the natural habitat of the macaque is under threat from logging (cutting down trees) and farmers see them as a pest and try to get rid of them.