Barbary macaques in Gibraltar
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The Monkey Park in Gibraltar
You've probably heard of Gibraltar a few times. An industrial island, oddly still under the British crown, the shortest gateway from Europe to Africa - just over 13 miles. So short, in fact, that on clear days, you can see as far as Tangiers. It certainly makes for a nice lookout point over the other continent, that goes without saying. Can someone say "hello sunset"? But perhaps the best reason to visit Gibraltar, outside its peculiar history, is the thriving macaque population on the Upper Rock Reserve. The only monkeys of the European continent were brought in from North Africa over 12 centuries ago by the Moors, who ruled over Spain at the time - and kept the apes as pets. Unlike their Moroccan and Algerian cousins, this monkey population is thriving and living in excellent conditions due to tourism and good care. What's so fun about this isn't just seeing the apes - it's observing them, and very often, playing with them. Living in a natural reserve means the apes are free to wander around, poke tourists and play with each other as they wish, without any sort of restricting walls. Liberty in its true form - for the pleasure of tourists, and I suspect, monkeys too!
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