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  • ESG lends it voice to the “Stop the Macaque Cull” campaign

    The ESG agrees with the growing number of calls against the macaque cull announced in the house by Minister Britto last week. In a previous significant cull in 2003, the group spoke out then about the clear problems of illegal feeding by visitors and some locals and the attraction of open garbage areas encouraging negative and at times, dangerous behaviour from the macaques. Here we are 5 years down the line and again we are facing culling of high numbers of these animals. Government tells us this is the only viable solution to this problem.

    It’s important that Government reviews its culling decision and considers the many options provided in the well thought out Upper Rock Management Plan produced by the GONHS in 2005. Among the numerous recommendations in the plan is the urgent need for Wildlife wardens to be introduced in the upper rock to monitor both wildlife and human activity. Tourists are charged to enter the reserve and some of this income should be reinvested into monitoring the area, managing the macaques and other wildlife; and enforcing legislation when necessary.

    The report discusses the role of contraception; the problems and costs associated with exporting these animals for relocation and many other issues. This issue has rightly become a hotly debated one given that the macaques form part of our living heritage and are an integral part of our identity. In view of the public interest the ESG suggests that this report is made public so that the community is informed about the challenges and choices available and can help to be part of the solution too. It is also hoped that the recommendations are taken on board by Government and made policy.

    Perhaps 2008 will be the turning point for a more balanced co-existence with these extraordinary creatures that also attract a lot of tourism to Gibraltar. With the assimilation of Tourism into the Ministry of the Environment the opportunity arises for a more holistic and sustainable approach.

    We call upon Minister Britto to please review the present decision and to explore all other options with the designated macaque caretakers.