Wild monkeys in Cedar forest - Azrou

Wild monkeys in Cedar forest - Azrou - Middle Atlas mountains

You may take a close look to the monkeys in this youtube video below:


Azrou is a small town in the middle Atlas mountains, near Ifrane, south of the famous historical city Fez. The resemblance with Ifrane is noticeable especially the buildings architecture since it snows in Azrou too.
It is mainly known for being the home of the last remnants of ancient cedar forest. But also for being the home of a special monkey species. The only species of macaques outside of Asia, the Barbary
macaques (a.k.a Barbary apes), But generally both locals and visitors call them monkeys, or sometimes wild monkeys.
The furry apes have been living in the cedar forests for centuries, before humans started to inhabit the place, the forest is not only Cedar by the way, it also has beautiful Oak and Pine trees.
Barbary macaques are remarkably adaptable animals, they come to the ground to forage for food, mainly acorns.
They don't fear humans, they actually see them as an easy source of food. So they don’t have to use aggression to get it. 
Monkeys on the road - Azrou - Morocco
Cars usually stop in the car park where the passengers could get out and feed the monkeys by their own hands. Truck drivers also throw food out of their windows as they passed sometimes.
Tourists and local visitors love to stop by for some selfie pictures with these cute creatures, there are vendors their selling peanuts, bananas, and other food that you may by to feed the monkeys.
Unfortunately there's a negative side to humans interfering the wild life of Barbary macaques in Azrou, just like it is in general. Because the food they usually get is really high calories, which may cause health issues or obesity and dental problems (causes mainly by sugar in processed sweet food). After all, all wild animals are supposed to looks for their own food, not have it handed to them on a plate. It led the wild monkeys to exhibit fewer natural behaviors than normal. Since they need to forage less, because of the near-constant supply of food. they also groom each other less. 
Baby Monkey - Azrou
Some associations are trying to raise awareness about the issues that the Barbary macaques are going through. Especially that Some researches show that those wild monkeys have a higher parasite burden than normal. Added to the other issues they have, they start to reproduce less and less.. So far they are not endangered species but the reproducing rates are going down each year. The monkey's touristic spot gets more popular every year and humans interfere more with the wild life, so the future is not bright for them.
The good news is that the Moroccan Primate Conservation Foundation has just released a Conservation Action Plan for the Barbary macaque. The plan includes strategies to improve the situation for the Azrou macaques by educating tourists and local people. It also includes a long-term goal to regenerate the cedar forest.
This could be the light at the end of the dark tunnel for our wild friends.
Baby Monkey on a Cedar tree - Azrou
To do our part, we at Hyper Morocco Tours, encourage you to take these information into consideration.. We usually stop for pictures from inside the car, or sometimes from outside of it if the weather is nice, we advise our Costumers to not feed the monkey, especially not high calorie processed sweet food. Tourism should not be destructive to our fellow animals.

 
Contact informations: Hyper Morocco Tours

Smail Jarrou
Quartier Elmhamid 9
Marrakech 50000 Morocco
Email 1: contact@hypermoroccotours.com
Email 2: hypermoroccotours@gmail.com
Tel / Whatsapp: +212 6 17 17 57 30