Gibraltar to get rid of half its monkey colony?

Gibraltar to get rid of half its monkey colony as they 'lose fear of humans'Getty

Gibraltar's famous monkeys could be shipped off the Rock as they have become 'fearless' of humans and are increasingly running riot through the town's streets.

The Daily Mail reports that almost half of the Barbary Macaques could be relocated to North Africa.

Gibraltar's Environment Minister Dr John Cortes said: 'They've lost their fear of humans and regard them as a source of rich food.'

Although the Barbary Macaques are generally friendly and charming, a grandmother was bitten in an unprovoked attack last week while pushing her grandson in a pram.

Rose Vinales was among 60 people who needed hospital treatment this year after being bitten by one of the animals.

A government-led campaign has been launched, titled Get Our Monkeys Back To Nature, to teach people not to feed the iconic monkeys.

Feeding them is illegal and punishable by a fine but the law is frequently ignored, particularly by tourists who visit the areas around Apes Den and the Siege Tunnels at the top of the Rock.

The colony's government is developing a wider action plan with the support of primate experts at the Born Free Foundation.

A government statement said a boost to a contraceptive programme forms part of the scheme, as well as the 'possibility of relocating up to 120 monkeys to North Africa'.

Dr Cortes said that the current population is around 230 and reiterated that culling was not supported by the government.

Although shadow minister Selwyn Figueras has suggested it should be considered, such a measure would cause outrage.

Dr Cortes said the campaign would see challenges but would succeed with community support.

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