Hundreds of iconic Barbary macaques feared dead in Morocco forest fire

Hundreds of iconic Barbary macaques feared dead in Morocco forest fire

A wildfire that tore through the Rif mountains in northern Morocco for several days from July 25 has destroyed more than a dozen villages and is likely to have ravaged the endangered Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) monkey population living there. Some 7,500 hectares (18,500 acres) has burned, about half of the Bouhachem Forest Reserve. Local media reported that 935 families from 15 villages in the region of the fires were evacuated. Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation (BMAC), a U.K.-based NGO that has a base in the Bouhachem reserve in the Rif mountains, says local communities have lost their houses, wheat and other crops and much of their livestock. “The villagers rely on the Bouhachem forest for non-timber forest products, particularly grazing for their cows and goats,” said Siân Waters, an adviser to BMAC. “It is probable that many cows will have been killed by the fire and this is a substantial loss in terms of meat and milk. The villagers also relied on the forest for the collection of medicinal plants and mushrooms which they sell.” Forest fire above a village near Bouhachem: villagers have lost homes, crops, and livestock in the most intense fire for 40 years. Organizations including Barbary Macaque Awareness & Conservation will try to aid their recovery. Image courtesy of Ahmed Al Harrad/BMCRif. Sidi Imad Cherkaoui, associate professor at the Superior School of Technology–Kénitra in Morocco’s University of Ibn Tofail, said the wildfire was “one of the most devastating and deadly in the last 40 years.”…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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