Damian and Dale from Macaque Management recieving their gifts from Loreto Convent School; who thanked them for all their help, advice and assistance to free the school from the monkeys.
The monkeys have as everyone knows not been on their best behaviour here in Gibraltar as of late, but slowly the Macaque Management Team are making headway.
The Mount, just next door to the Loreto Convent School has had macaques visiting the area since way back in the 1800s. Historical records are testament to this. The question is why they were there then and still there now!
Back in the 1800s there was a stand of Nettle trees that produced very tasty berries and leaves for monkeys when the season is right. Those trees are still there now so the draw is the same now as it was then. Yes, the trees are hundreds of years old - well maybe not all of them - trees have a habit of re-seeding themselves and here in Gibraltar they are protected.
So today we have a stand of protected trees that the monkeys like and a Convent, which is now a school, just next door. This school has children who have break times, where the children go out to play in the school playground. And what do children do in the playground? They eat their biscuits, crisps, sweets, soft drinks and the like. The monkeys for their part see this and the draw of these high-calorific foods brings them to the school and the playground in the hope of obtaining these rich hand outs that the children drop as they play.
Now we have a problem of how to remove the monkeys when all they want are easy pickings.
The Monkey Team, small as it is, can push them away but the draw also has to be removed. Only when the people with the problem listen to those trying to cure it will a problem go away. It's a team effort on both sides.
The draw is food. So now the staff of the school keep the children inside the school building until they have finished eating and drinking, then the children go outside to play. The monkeys are still there but they very quickly see there is no food. Easy picking gone, and with a little encouragement from the monkey team, so have the monkeys. They cannot wait all day in the hope of food, they have to forage, so it's back to the trees and when the trees stop fruiting and all the fruits have gone so will the monkeys.
We have to thank the Head and all the Staff at Loreto Convent School for helping the Monkey Team with this joint problem, and thank them for acknowledging the work that they do.
~ Monkey Team