Gibraltar: Barbary “apes”

IMG_5221.krIMG_5211Gibraltar monkeysIMG_5202.2.krIMG_5215.krBarbary ApesIMG_5196.2IMG_5209.krHalf a day in Gibraltar was hands down the highlight of my trip through Spain and Portugal, all because of these devils pictured above. Brazen, fearless, mischievous and so charming, they quickly had all the tourists in their thrall. And apparently they’re quite the food pickpockets – if you have anything edible, they’ll rip it out of your hands or steal it from your bag. I saw a pair tag team a robbery. One monkey opened one of those low ice cream fridges in an outdoor cafe, stole handfuls of Magnums, and then raced off as the owner came at them with a broom. His friend was covering for him the whole time. They then proceeded to unpack and devour said ice cream in full view of our cameras.

The famous barbary apes aren’t apes at all but monkeys and they come from Morocco (and Algeria). However, these immigrants have settled in nicely and are plastered all over the tourist  attractions in Gibraltar. They’re clustered around St. Michael’s caves and pay tourists no attention as they go about their business – you can see how close I got to some of them! One stood mere inches away as I snapped his portrait and the rest circled me calmly as they alternately fought and groomed. I was a bit more cautious with the mother and her baby, but she was quite calm as well and posed for a few shots. I think they have beautiful, thoughtful faces.

Gibraltar is a fascinating place with lots of history, especially for those World War II buffs, but I only had time for these creatures. I’m starting to think that I’d really enjoy a safari – animals are proving to be even more interesting to photograph than people (remember my obsession with pigeons? oh and the iguanas in Tulum…)

Happy Tuesday!

[P.S. Settling into life in New York and doing twelve things at once, so the updates are slow in coming! I hope to make a photo book of this trip as it was amazing and quite photogenic.]

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