Also known as a Barbary ape, the Barbary macaque is a true monkey that has a body length of around 21.9 inches for females while the males have a length of about 25.0 inches. Males are slightly larger with a weight of about 32 pounds while females average around 21.8 pounds. The tail can be anywhere between 0.15 inches and 0.87 inches. These animals live in various habitats such as grasslands, rocky ridges, forests, and other places. The diet mostly includes insects and almost all parts of a plant.
Researchers from Edinburgh Napier University surveyed 513 national and international visitors to Jemaa el-Fna square during an Easter holiday period when tourism was at a peak, using a 25-item questionnaire to evaluate their perception of primate photo props.
88% of the respondents neither intended to use the photo props nor did. More than 200 people found it unacceptable because of ethical or animal welfare reasons.
Jay Mackinnon, a lecturer in applied sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, commented: “Most of the survey respondents didn’t see the macaques as an attraction and found the photo props off-putting. They pitied the animals and raised concerns about hygiene and the risk of serious infections being transmitted.”
Interestingly, while 66% agreed the practice should be illegal, 80% were unaware it is already illegal in the country.
Barbary macaques can be seen in the wild at Ifrane National Park and the waterfalls of Ouzoud. The study points out that, if managed appropriately, ecotourism enterprises could provide a better experience for tourists who value animal encounters at these sites.