Category Archives: News

Vacature assistent projecten / fondsenwerving (onbetaalde positie 6-8 u/pw)


Stichting Moroccan Primate Conservation is op zoek naar een gemotiveerde vrijwilliger die in een klein team komt te werken dat samen vecht om de bedreigde Berberaap in Marokko te behouden. MPC heeft een coordinerende rol in Marokko voor de uitvoering van het Conservation Action Plan van de Berberaap en voert ook zelf projecten uit.

Wij zoeken een enthousiaste vrijwilliger die een dag per week (kan ook verspreid) de directeur assisteert in diverse zaken – dit kan zijn project inhoudelijk maar ook ondersteuning in fondsenwervingsacties.

De functie is heel divers en omdat wij in een klein team werken en je direct onder hoofd fondsenwerver (UK) en de directeur werkt ben je heel erg betrokken bij de inhoud van MPC’s werk.

Deze vacature is heel interessant als je meer ervaring wilt opdoen in een natuurbeschermingsproject en tevens de ins & outs van een NGO wil leren kennen.

Bij voorkeur voldoe je aan de volgende punten:

  • Je woont in/ bij Amsterdam in de buurt
  • Je hebt ervaring met het werken met primaten of natuurbeschermingsprojecten
  • Je spreekt en schrijft goed Nederlands en Engels (nog beter als je Frans spreekt)
  • Je hebt ervaring met fondsenwerving
  • Je vindt het een uitdaging om met kleine budgetten te werken
  • Je vindt het leuk om bij te dragen aan de owikkeling en groei van een kleine ambitieuze organisate
  • Je bent creatief
  • Je bent proactief
  • Je kan zelfstandig werken
  • Je bent flexibel en kan van thuis uit werken (MPC heeft geen kantoor)


Graag jouw motivatiebrief en CV voor 31 augustus naar:


Els van Lavieren

064478721 en

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Tourism and Barbary macaques in Morocco









With Barbary macaque numbers declining in Morocco, and poaching such a huge problem, tourism may have a key role to play in conservation of these primates. Experience with other primate species – mountain gorillas being the best example – shows that if local people perceive that animals have a ‘value’ in terms of attracting tourists, they are much more like to offer protection to the animals and the environment they live in. But tourism can have its downsides too, and research from the University of Roehampton on the effects of tourism on wild Barbary macaques in the Middle Atlas Mountains has highlighted the need for visitors to Morocco to think carefully about how they treat the monkeys they are lucky enough to see in their native environment.

The scientists from Roehampton found that when tourists got really close, the monkeys became more aggressive towards each other, and also spent less time grooming each other. Both effects are bad – more aggression leads to more injuries, while grooming is crucial for social bonding and maintaining a peaceful group. Tourists also occasionally tried to interact with the monkeys, and these interactions caused the animals to become stressed, which can be bad for their health and welfare. In addition, the researchers found evidence that feeding of these wild macaques by tourists has negative consequences. Compared to monkeys living in the forest away from tourist sites, the tourist fed animals were seriously overweight, had more internal parasites and fur in poorer condition.

If you get the opportunity to visit Barbary macaques in the wild, please give them plenty of space (a gap of 10m or so is good) and don’t try to interact with them or give them food. These are wild animals; remembering that and behaving appropriately will ensure your visit is good for the monkeys as well as for you!

To find out more…

If you want to find out more about this research, the studies described above are:

Borg, C, Majolo, B, Qarro, M & Semple, S (in press) A comparison of body size, coat condition and endoparasite diversity of wild Barbary macaques exposed to different levels of tourism. Anthrozoos

Majolo, B, van Lavieren, E, Maréchal, L, Maclarnon, A, Marvin, G, Qarro, M, & Semple, S (2013) Out of Asia: the singular case of the Barbary macaque. Pages 167-183, in The Macaque Connection: Co-operation and Conflict between Humans and Macaques. Eds. Radhakrishna, S, Huffman, M & Sinha, A. Springer: New York.

Maréchal, L, Semple, S, Majolo, B, Qarro, M, Heistermann, M & MacLarnon, A (2011) Impacts of tourism on anxiety and physiological stress levels in wild male Barbary macaques. Biological Conservation 144: 2188-2193.

For copies of these papers, of for more information, please email Prof Stuart Semple ( at the University of Roehampton.

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Conservation education programme – MPC works with Rabat zoo









The new zoo in Rabat opened in january 2012. Compared to the former zoo it has improved very much for both the animals and the visitors. There is a section “Middle Atlas” where the Barbary macaques are housed. Rabat zoo is currently the location where Barbary macaques are brought to after confiscations. This means that they are now  full with macaques as their space is limited. MPC is working on a solution for this problem together with the Moroccan authorities.

In the new zoo, there is a really nice education center for children. Thousands of children from all around Morocco come here every year from all around Morocco to learn about the environment and the animals.

MPC and Rabat zoo are going to work together to offer education to these children about the conservation issues that the Barbary macaque is facing. Our volunteers Kris and Manon are working on a cool game again – just like the successful “Macaque game” that we used during the school programme in 2012 in Azrou and Ouzoud.

This programme is funded by Rocamadour – La Foret des Singes. Thank you!


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MPC helps the Sulawesi Crested Black Macaque


In April 2012 Els (director MPC) was invited by Selamatkan Yaki ( to assist at the workshop for the creation of the species action plan for the Macaca nigra. As MPC has recently been through the whole process of creating a species action plan for the Barbary macaque, Els could exchange this experience to help create this extremely important document for the charismatic critically endangered cousins of the Barbary macaques, the Sulawesi crested black  macaque (Macaca nigra).

The workshop took 3 days and was attended by all the stakeholders, and that made it a very successful workshop. The Macaca nigra is coping with similar threats to the Barbary macaque but there are 2 main differences: 1. the Macaca nigra is hunted for food and 2. the Macaca nigra is endemic to only the Minahasa province in the north of Sulawesi, so that makes the species very vulnerable. For this reason the M. nigra is now classified as Critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.

The workshop was a great success, the participants were very involved and there is good hope that this SAP will hugely help with protecting this amazing species. We would like to thank the amazing Selematkan Yaki team, and in particular Harry Hilser for making us part of this workshop and exciting process. We wish you good luck with the next steps!


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IUCN Species Action Plan Workshop










In April MPC was invited by the Moroccan authorities to participate in a very important and interesting workshop organised by IUCN (Malaga) about the creation and implementation of Species Conservation Action Plans.

People from all kinds of backgrounds were there, but all were involved in conservation in Morocco so this was an amazing opportunity to meet people who are active all over Morocco.  Mme Mesbah (from the High commissary of Water and Forests) and myself were very pleased to present the second existing action plan in Morocco, namely for the Barbary macaque. There is only one other existing CAP in Morocco and that is for the Northern Bold Ibis.

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Crop raiding issues and collaboration


Els gave a presentation/ seminar at the Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech to Prof Mohammed Znari’s Master students. These were the same motivated students that volunteered during the survey in Marrakechon the Jemma el fna square. The team from Cadi Ayyad has been working in the field with Barbary macaques in the Ourika Valley region (High Atlas). The problem with this small population is that their natural habitat (food sources) have been destroyed so they raid the crops from farmers and this causes a severe conflict resulting in that farmers kill the monkeys. Els discussed possible solutions with the class and the professor. The director of Toubkal National Park let MPC know that they are going to do a trial with chili powder/ spray on the fruit trees.

MPC is very happy with the collaboration with Marrakech University.

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Update on the Conservation Action Plan


We proudly present the freshly printed hard copy of Conservation Action Plan in 2 languages…looks good ey? It is now an official governmental document in Morocco. We are also pleased to inform you that the Moroccan authorities have actively started to work within the framework of this action plan and MPC is very proud and pleased with this amazing result!

MPC has secured funding for most of the activities (that MPC is part of) that are planned in year 1 of the CAP timetable.  An example is a large survey in Ifrane national park to assess which fragments of forest we should re-connect with corridors in the near future. It is all very exciting!

You can download the French and English version of the CAP:




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Future for Nature 2013



Els (director MPC) was invited to the Future for Nature awards (F4N) – an award she won herself in 2010. F4N: Future for Nature supports young, talented and ambitious conservationists committed to protecting species of wild animals and plants. The commitment of these individuals is what will make the difference for the future of nature. Through their leadership they inspire and mobilize communities, organizations, governments, investors and the public at large.

The awards are hosted and for a great part funded by Burger’s Zoo in Arnhem. MPC has been working with the generous amount of award money that Els received in 2010 for almost 3 years and we are extremely grateful to F4N and in particular Burger’s Zoo  for their support. It is to our opinion fantastic when a zoo invests such large amounts of funds into in situ projects around the world.

Every year, the F4N invites a special guest to the awards. Over the last years people like David Attenborough, Redmond O’Hanlon,  Angela Cropper were present to support F4N amazing purpose. This year Jane Goodall was the special guest and Els had the honor to spend some time with her. The winners of this year were really inspiring. For more information about F4N:

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Survey on use of macaques for tourism purposes Marrakech


As most of you know, Marrakech is a hotspot for illegal trade in young macaques on the famous Jemma el Fna square. On this square it is also possible to have your picture taken with macaques or snakes. These activities have existed here for a very long time, and thus it is seen by the Moroccan authorities as a traditional part of the folklore in Marrakech that attracts tourists to the city.

Despite the fact that the Moroccan authorities have shown an increasing motivation/ support to tackle the illegal trade Barbary macaques in Morocco, MPC notices that the illegal selling and use of macaques for tourism purposes in Marrakech is the most difficult issue to address, as the authorities strongly believe that this “floklore” with animals is an important reason for the millions of tourists to come to Marrakech annually.

This survey that MPC assisted in was Kristina Stazaker’s (MPC UK) MSc thesis at the Edinburgh Napier University and conducted in cooperation with the Scientific Institute in Rabat. The funding came from IPPL. This survey is important to find out about the attitude of tourists on the Jemma el Fna square towards the use of macaques and if this is one of the main reasons for them to visit Marrakech. The outcome of this research is very important as MPC and the Moroccan authorities can focus their conservation efforts and policy based on scientific data.

We could not have done this without the amazing support from volunteer Katie Timmins and the enthusiastic students from Caddi Ayad University in Marrakech. We finally interviewd more than 500 tourists and we are looking forward to the results! Good luck with the analysis Kristina!


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Conservation Action Plan for Barbary macaques in Morocco


Last year MPC organised a meeting together with the Haut Comissariat aux Eaux et Fôrets (Ministry of Water and Forests) and (inter) national NGOs, experts, scientists and universities, to create a Conservation Action Plan (CAP) for the Barbary macaque. This was a very important meeting in which MPC feels that we saw a real commitment from the Moroccan authorities to conserve this unique species.

It has taken a while to finalize this extremely important document, in which the threats to the species where analysed in the 3  habitat regions in Morocco (High Atlas, Middle Atlas and Rif mountains) and short-  middle- and long term actions were defined. The final version of the CAP is ready now.

We are very proud of this achievement. The Moroccan authorities have asked MPC to be their partner in the execution/ coordination of this CAP. We are honored to have that role. We will start looking for partner and funding organisations to implement the action plan. Please contact us if you are interested in being involved.

We want to thank the Ministry of Water and Forests and all the contributors tothis CAP.

We thank Montagne des Singes/ Trentham Monkeyforest/ Affenberg Salem/ La Fôret des Singes for funding the meeting. And a big thank you to our volunteers Kris, Manon and Berta for helping MPC to organise this meeting.

If you would like to receive a copy of the CAP (in French, soon also in English), please emial us:

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You can also make a one-off donation to our cause if you would like to help us in saving the macaques! Please click on the currency you wish to use below.

If you wish to do a one-off donation, but cannot use the links please transfer your donation to account number 390469130. (IBAN: NL94TRIO 0390469130 and BIC/ SWIFT: TRIONL2U). Please put your email address in the subject of your transfer so that we can contact you.

the Idea


Stichting Moroccan Primate Conservation/
Moroccan Primate Conservation foundation
Van Hogendorpstraat 68E,
1051 BS, Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31(0)644787261 /

About us

MPC is an NGO that has successfully worked on the conservation of the endangered Barbary macaque in Morocco since 2003. MPC is the official partner of the Moroccan government for the protection of this unique species. 

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