31st October 2014, 3:41pm
Barbary Macaque Project in National Geographic
Barbary Macaque copyright Francisco Mingorance / National Geographic The November issue of National Geographic magazine has a feature story, Monkeys of Morocco, that focuses on a unique research project led by a researcher from the University of Lincoln, UK.

The Barbary Macaque Project was founded in 2008 by Dr Bonaventura Majolo from Lincoln's School of Psychology. Based at a field site in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco, it provides a platform for an international group of researchers to study this rare and threatened primate in its natural habitat.

The Barbary Macaque, Macaca sylvanus, is an 'Old World monkey' - a deeply ancestral species of macaque and the only one left in Africa. It is native to a few mountainous regions of Morocco and Algeria, with a small introduced population in Gibraltar. Its numbers have declined dramatically over the last 30 years, largely due to habitat loss, and it is classed as an IUCN Red List Threatened Species.

The species is of great interest to primatologists and ecologists investigating the evolution of primates and humans. The Barbary Macaque is one of just a few primate species living in temperate regions and characterised by frequent friendly interactions between adult males and infants.

Photographer Francisco Mingorance spent a year in the Middle Atlas Mountains observing and photographing the monkeys in the wild, visiting the Barbary Macaque Project’s field site on a number of occasions. His photography features in the November 2014 issue of National Geographic illustrating an article, Monkeys of Morocco, written by Rachel Hartigan Shea.

Dr Majolo, a socio-ecologist who contributed to research for the article, said: “The Barbary Macaque is a very special species, giving us a unique window into the evolution of primates. It is also a charming animal whose social behaviour shares many similarities with humans.
"Populations are under great pressure and, with a downward trend, their continued existence in the wild is uncertain. It is therefore important that we highlight just how crucial this species is to support its conservation.
Even for those of us who have worked closely with macaques for many years, it is very poignant to see these animals represented so beautifully in National Geographic.”

To read the National Geographic article and view the photographs, visit: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/11/barbary-macaques/shea-text
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