'Territory': the other dispute over Gibraltar

Par Tënk & Mediapart

Gibralter, the British-ruled territory on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, is home to a human population of about 30,000, but also several hundred Barbary macaques, the only wild monkeys to be found in Europe, who regularly descend from the wild reserve of the Rock to jump and scurry around the densely-populated town underneath. Humans and monkeys live a tense relationship, fought with peashooters and guile, for the monkeys are blissfully unbound by - and mocking of - human notions of territory, as illustrated in this award-winning short documentary, Territory, by Eleanor Mortimer.

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They have lived on the famous Rock that dominates Gibralter since well before the British arrived there three centuries ago, but the more than 200 wild Barbary macaques, who originally came from North Africa, are having a hard time of cohabiting with their human neighbours. Their incursions into the streets of Gibralter’s town are met with peashooter-armed municipal staff whose job is to chase them back up into the wild reserve on the mountain, but the humans are often made a monkey of by the growing population of macaques.