Geographic Distribution and Habitat Diversity of the Barbary Macaque Macaca sylvanus L.

In: Folia Primatologica
David Milton TaubDepartment of Anthropology, University of California, Davis, Calif.

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During a 15-month behavioral study in Morocco and a 3-month survey in Morocco and Algeria, the present distribution of the Barbary macaque was determined. In Algeria, monkeys are found in seven constricted and disjunct localities in the Grande and Petite Kabylie mountain ranges. These localities are severely restricted in space and are located in remote or inaccessible areas which support only small populations. Their habitats include mixed cedar and holm oak forests, humid Portuguese and cork oak mixes and gorges dominated by scrub vegetation. In only two regions (Guerrouch and Agfadou) can populations of reasonable size be found; even there they do not approach the abundance found in the Central Middle Atlas zone of Morocco. Distribution was more extensive earlier in this century and some areas have become unoccupied within the past 15 years. Today, their absolute numbers and population densities are low in all but two locations. Algeria contains approximately 23% (5,500 maximum) of the total number of surviving Barbary macaques in North Africa. About 77% of the total number of Barbary macaques occur in Morocco. Moroccan habitats include high cedar forests, cedar/holm-oak mixtures and pure holm oak forests. Macaque distribution in the High Atlas is restricted to the Ourika valley where only a small relict population survives. There are between five and eight small, disjunct forest pockets in the Rif which support small groups of monkeys. In the Middle Atlas, monkeys are found in high numbers and in relatively wide stretches of distribution, although there are constricted areas of low densities in this region also. 65% (14,000 maximum) of the animals and their highest densities occur in the high mixed cedar forests of the Central zone, and mixed cedar forest appears to be the preferred habitat for the species. With the exception of the Central zone, their remaining distribution is typically disjunct and constricted, and population densities are low. As in Algeria, distribution in Morocco was wider earlier this century, and several areas have recently become unoccupied.

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