Ignacio Lopez de Ayala mentioned the apes in his History of Gibraltar in 1782. “Neither the incursions of the Moor, the Spaniards, nor the English, nor cannon nor bomb of either have been able to dislodge them.”
Having had a monkey as a pet for a short time due to my youth and lack of judgment, I understand this statement completely. If you wish to hear more about this, send me an email and I will tell the story of “Monk” and how my mother let him into the house one day. It was not a pretty picture.
Like us, our distant cousins have a mind of their own and will do as they please. They have the lucky ability to makes us love them and fear them at the same time. Hum, that reminds me of another group, but I will not speak of that for fear of retribution from my wife.
The Gibraltar Barbary macques have lived on the rock for many centuries. They were cared for by the British Army and the Gibraltar Regiment from 1915 to 1991. The “Keeper of the Apes” kept the official records of the family and it’s births, which were often reported in “The Gibraltar Chronicle.”
The names and dates of birth of the new borns and their parents were kept as a matter of record. The “Keeper of the Apes” supplied their diet to them from Four pounds a month which he received from the British War Office.
There is a popular belief still held today that as long as the apes live on Gibraltar, England will still rule Gibraltar and call it their own.
I have no fear of the apes leaving. They are rewarded by the tourists with handouts simply by appearing to be cute and friendly. Nations have fallen believing the same about an enemy, only to discover their secrets and unknown history, too late.
The apes reach out with their little fury hands and we feed them, though it is against the law now. We see their warm eyes looking up at us and believe them to be kind and loving. They are, to their off spring most of the time, but behind those eyes lurk an animal that is always hungry and willing to do ANYTHING to get his powerful hands on a morsel of food. Beware!
They do not love us. They do not even like us. We are just a food delivery system to them. Don’t be fooled by the Barbary Apes.
I am now on Facebook at R.C. Hand.