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Complimentary food is provided by the Barbary Macaque Management Team. This is not strictly necessary , but it is tradition and it allows tourists to find the macaques with ease.
Twice a day the macaques are given fresh fruits and vegetables along with nuts, seeds and grains in feeding areas around the upper rock. The food provided changes depending on its seasonality.
The fresh fruit and vegetables provided include:
Swedes, sweet potatoes, celery, tomatoes, melons, lettuce, white cabbage, red cabbage, apples, potatoes, cumbers, oranges, onions, bananas, custard apples, chicory, olives, turnips, green beans, sweet peas, carrots, pumpkin and aubergines.
The Barbary macaques mostly eat plants (leaves, roots, herbs, grasses and fruits) but they will also eat insects, spiders and very small animals such as lizards.
Nettle trees – macaques will eat the berries produced
Wild Olive trees – macaques will eat the wild olives and leaves produced.
Cretan Viper’s Bugloss Flower – macaques will carefully take off individual petals and lick the nectar at its base.
Wild garlic – macaques will dig out and eat the garlic
Carob trees – macaques will eat the sweet carob fruit
Illegal Feeding - Why this is bad
Feeding the Barbary Macaques any food which is not naturally part of their normal diet will lead to health problems for the macaques. In addition, if we feed the macaques, they will associate all humans with food and therefore it can lead to negative interactions and bites.
Feeding in urban areas attracts the macaques to these areas and encourages them to spend more time in this environment roaming due to the availability of food.
If fed within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, this discourages the macaques from foraging for their food . It also encourages troops to split into smaller groups and would inevitably cause the younger macaques to not learn essential foraging techniques from the older macaques.