We are very lucky to have our field base in the forest of Bouhachem in north Morocco. An hour and a half drive from Tétouan, this 142 square kilometre area in the Rif mountains is the stronghold of the last truly wild Barbary macaques in Morocco. The forest is mixed oak, including Pyrenean oak, holm oak, zeen oak and the incredibly beautiful cork oak, which stands out with its red trunks when its bark has been harvested.
Along with over 40 groups of macaques, Bouhachem is home to jackal, wild boar, foxes and numerous species of birds and reptiles. Positioned between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the forest sometimes seems to have a climate all its own, with clouds and mist that hang low over the mountains making visibility very low on some days, and other days where the town is soaked in rain and the forest is in bright sunshine.
The macaques also share the forest with the people who live in villages around Bouhachem, and their domestic animals. The shepherds who graze their goats, cows and sheep on the mountains and among the trees are very important to our project, and you can read more about them here.