Distribution and habitat


Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) are now restricted to isolated forest fragments in the Atlas and Rif Mountain ranges in Morocco and Algeria. The Moroccan and Algerian populations are separated by a gap of about 700km (Fooden 2007).

The species was once more widely distributed in North Africa. A large and long-established semi-wild colony is present on Gibraltar.

An 18th century document preserved in the British Museum notes that “a great quantity” of Barbary macaques was introduced into the British garrison in 1740 (Fooden 2007).

The Barbary macaque is now the only species of the genus Macaca found outside Asia.


Barbary macaques inhabit mid to high altitude mixed cedar and oak forest, and scrub and cliffs (MacDonald 1985).

In Algeria monkey troops were observed living in non-deciduous cedar-green oak forest, deciduous oak forest and on rocky mountainous ridges lacking arboreal vegetation. Monkey densities were higher in cedar forest than in deciduous forest, and the ceder forest troop had a more balanced sex ratio and better survival of young animals. The mountain troop had an unstable aging population with low population density (Menart et al 1985).