Today, 28 September 2016, the Barbary macaque was uplisted to CITES Appendix I after a vote at CITES CoP17 in Johannesburg. While many organisations and individuals are quick to applaud this news, we at BMAC are cautious. The legislation surrounding the trade in Barbary macaques is already inconsistently enforced, and our experience from seven years’ work in Morocco shows that social mechanisms are far more effective than legal mechanisms in halting the exploitation of Barbary macaques at its source, which in itself is far more effective for species conservation.
We have recently signed a revised three-year agreement with Le Haut Commissaire aux Eaux et Forêts et à la Lutte Contre la Désertification, which confirms our collaboration with the Moroccan authorities to continue working for species conservation in Morocco, including the confiscation of illegally held Barbary macaques. We are also now able to take a more proactive approach to confiscations because we have received funding from the US Department of the Interior’s International Technical Assistance Program to enable us to purchase an appropriate vehicle for macaque transport and build facilities for their assessment. This means more confiscated macaques will have the chance to return to the wild..
Along with our education and awareness initiatives and our ongoing qualitative research, we will continue to take a holistic approach to tackling a problem which cannot be solved with laws alone.