Planet of the Apes

LAST UPDATED: 29 Jul, 2010 @ 22:01
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Planet of the Apes

By Nicola Cowell

GIBRALTAR’S famous apes have now learned to order room service, as their cheeky behaviour hits new heights.

The rock’s Barbary Apes attract thousands of tourists each year, who flock to see them at Apes’ Den and the Great Seige Tunnels.

But hotel owners say the macaques are fast becoming a problem for tourists who have reported them sneaking into hotel rooms and stealing food.

One monkey entered the Rock Hotel bar recently, opened a waiter’s trolley and stole a plate of hot scones.

The clever ape, however, was courteous enough to close the trolley door again, before making his get-away.

So big has become the problem that the authorities are planning an imminent cull of the monkeys, who have inhabited the upper part of the rock for two centuries.

MONKEYING AROUND: The cheeky behavior has hit new heights

According to a local police source, they need to cut them down by around ten per cent.
“We are looking to lose at least a dozen,” he said.

One of the main problems concerns tourists, who still feed the monkeys despite being asked not to.

It has led to upmarket hotels, such as the La Caleta and Rock becoming ape hang-outs.

Duty manager of Caleta Hotel, Andrej Mocny, says they have had a problem with the monkeys for years.

“It happens a lot where people leave windows open and the monkeys climb in looking for food.
“We have also had problems with them damaging power cables and satellite dishes.”

One monkey entered the Rock Hotel bar recently, opened a waiter’s trolley and stole a plate of hot scones.

The tail-less macaques have been inhabiting Gibraltar since the mid-18th century, when British soldiers brought them over from their native north Africa for shooting practice.

The rock now has a population of more than 200 apes, who have harrassed locals in the upper part of town for years but have recently moved down to the tourist areas.

They have learned to associate tourists with food and often ransack bins and run riot on the beach at Catalan Bay.

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