Giorgio Our Oldest Male Monkey Died Today
Gibraltar's oldest free-ranging male monkey, Giorgio, died a natural death today. With 29 years of age he beat the Barbary Macaque's average span of life by ten years, yet we will miss him very much.
Giorgio was found dead during the day. Dr Eric Shaw, Director of Projects for the care of the monkeys, said, he assumes that the heavy storms and rains of the past two weeks were too much for him - Dr Shaw has been appointed for this post by the Gibraltar Government via our sister charity GONHS (Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society) and is also the Chairman of the Helping Hand Trust.
Dr Shaw and his team have cared for Giorgio for half of his life. Belonging to the troop at the popular tourist site Prince Philips Arch on top of the Rock, Giorgio had longed ceased to be an alpha male. Yet, he always managed to secure his place in the hierarchy of primates.
Toothless and suffering from arthritis in arms and legs he kept well in with the alpha males: In exchange with other males he always sided with the alpha males that succeeded him, while looking towards the females for guidance whenever one of these situations occurred. On top of this he learned to 'give five' from taxi drivers and tour operators. With this skill he became the star of tour operators and tourists who gave him treats for his performance.
Both these alliances helped him to get along despite his illness: He did not have to move much, he did not have to forage for food or get in the way of any alpha males by taking the most popular bits from the daily provision of fruit and vegetables.
We do not advise the contact between monkeys and tour operators or tourists as this disturbs the natural balance within the troops. For the same reason it is prohibited to feed the monkeys. Humans should not forget that they are wild animals, not pets. However, you have to admire Giorgio for using man to his own advantage, finding his unique personal niche and becoming a great character in his later life. We - like many others - will always remember him fondly.
The female Mercedes with her 32 years of age meanwhile continues to be the oldest monkey on the Rock of Gibraltar.