Gibraltar's famous "Barbary apes" are actually a species of tailless monkeys called Barbary Macaques. They are descended from North African populations.
Legend has it that as long as the Barbary apes exist on Gibraltar, the territory, whose sovereignty is a major source of contention between the English and the Spanish, will remain under British rule.
In 1942, during World War II, when the population dwindled to just a handful of monkeys, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill ordered their numbers be replenished immediately from populations in Morocco and Algeria.
Today there are several hundred semi-wild Barbary apes occupying the area of the Upper Rock.
They are one of Gibraltar's main tourist attractions, despite their propensity for snatching everything from purses to hats to sunglasses!.
August 7th, 2012
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