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Monday, November 29, 2010

Look who jumped on my shoulder to have his picture taken


Photo by Richard Schear
See how shocked I look? Trained monkeys jump onto the shoulders of unsuspecting cruise ship passengers disembarking in Casablanca. Apparently their owners expect money for monkey rental, but I don't think Dick paid for the privilege of catching me with my mouth open. I had thought they were the same species as the "apes" found in Gibraltar, but our ship didn't stop there on our Canary Islands cruise out of Barcelona a few years ago, so I had to resort to Wikipedia to confirm my suspicion:

The Barbary Macaque population in Gibraltar is the only one in the whole of the European continent, and, unlike (the macaque population in) North Africa, it is thriving. At present there are some 230 animals in five troupes occupying the area of the Upper Rock, though occasional forays into the town may result in damages to personal property.[1] As they are a tailless species, they are also known locally as Barbary Apes or Rock Apes, despite the fact that they are monkeys (Macaca sylvanus). The local people simply refer to them as monos (meaning monkeys) when conversing in Spanish or Llanito (the local vernacular).
The Gibraltar Barbary Macaque is considered Gibraltar's unofficial national animal.
All Gibraltar Barbary Macaques are descended from North African populations of Barbary Macaques. DNA evidence has established beyond doubt that the present population of Gibraltar macaques is of relatively recent Algerian and Moroccan origin. No traces were found of a third source for their DNA, namely of any ancient, no longer surviving Iberian population.[2] An earlier theory, now dis-proven by the DNA evidence, was that the original Gibraltar macaques were a remnant of populations that had spread throughout Southern Europe[3] during the Pliocene, up to 5.5 million years ago.[4]
The original introduction of the macaques was probably by the Moors (who occupied southern Iberia, including Spain and Portugal, between 711 and 1492) for use as pets.[5]
The macaque population (was) present on The Rock long before Gibraltar became English in the 18th century.

13 comments:

wenn said...

that's fun..

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Is that cute or what? Really, what an amazing thing to happen Kay. (I might have had my mouth open even a little wider -- in a surprised screech!)

Our grandson and d-i-l had monkeys jump on them when they were in India (I forget exactly where) -- they said there were so many they were a little intimidated.

Grandpa said...

Hi Kay, greetings from the tropical rainforest! I found my way here from Dominic's, so I thougt I'll hang around for a while...

The monkey didn't look surprise, and seems to enjoy the ride!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I think that cheeky monkey is copping a feel!

aka Penelope said...

Cute picture, Kay. An unofficial "national animal" jumping on your arm could be considered quite an honor. :) However, he does have his paw on that purse around your neck. Thanks for asking about my foot, by the way. It usually did swell up after a day of touring during my trip.

Kay said...

Good capture by Dick! It's a good thing he was fast with his fingers to catch that perfect shot!

Fran said...

The monkey is certainly cute, but I am really fascinated by the chap behind you. What does he have around his neck? Is he selling them or is it part of his costume?

nana_ang_poppaphil said...

Another great shot, and a great story to go with it.

Reader Wil said...

You looked really surprised! No wonder! It's a beautiful photo, Kay!

Anvilcloud said...

That would have been quite a shock.

Fe said...

nice picture...never done like that, I'm afraid to hold some monkey :(

Linnea said...

What a great candid shot! I agree with Debra above: that monkey is trying to feel you out!

Francisca said...

You may remember feeling shocked when that monkey jumped you, Kay, but I think you look so composed! I see there are all manner of distractions there to entertain the passengers. Hope they weren't all as cheeky as this monkey!