ArticlePDF Available

Monkey business: the illegal trade in Barbary macaques


Abstract and Figures

This article focuses on the organization, modus operandi and trade route of the illegal trade in Barbary macaques. The Barbary macaque is the most seized CITES mammal in the EU, accounting for almost 25% of live mammal-related seizures. It is estimated that as few as 5,000-6,000 Barbary macaques remain in fragmented parts of Morocco and Algeria, partly as result of the illegal trade. Although it was formally believed that the trade was loosely based on the tourist industry, a relatively high degree of (criminal) organization was found in this study on the illegal trade in Barbary macaques. Sophisticated methods combined with high profits and large numbers ordered of Barbary macaques, coordinated by well-organized, semi-loose networks characterize this form of illegal wildlife trade.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security
© 2016: 2(1): 36-49
ISSN Print: 2374-118X!!!!ISSN Online: 2374-1198
Monkey business: the illegal trade in Barbary macaques
Daan van Uhm
Willem Pompe Institute for Criminal law and Criminology, The Netherlands
Abstract: This article focuses on the organization, modus operandi and trade route of the illegal trade in Barbary ma-
caques. The Barbary macaque is the most seized CITES mammal in the EU, accounting for almost 25% of live mammal-
related seizures. It is estimated that as few as 5,000-6,000 Barbary macaques remain in fragmented parts of Morocco and
Algeria, partly as result of the illegal trade. Although it was formally believed that the trade was loosely based on the tourist
industry, a relatively high degree of (criminal) organization was found in this study on the illegal trade in Barbary ma-
caques. Sophisticated methods combined with high profits and large numbers ordered of Barbary macaques, coordinated by
well-organized, semi-loose networks characterize this form of illegal wildlife trade.
Keywords: Illegal wildlife trade; green criminology; Barbary macaque; environmental crime; wildlife trafficking; CITES
Over the past decades we have become increasingly aware of the growing impact that human activity
has on nature. The immense global defaunation1 has led to the reduction and disappearance of many
species (Dirzo et al., 2014). Perhaps one of the most famous examples is the decline of the Homi-
noidea family, i.e. Great Apes, with the exception of Homo sapiens. Currently chimpanzees,
orangutans, gorillas and bonobos are believed to be on the brink of extinction (Stiles et al., 2013).
One of the most important dangers to the survival of these species is the illegal trade in wildlife, an
illegal business that may be comparable with the drug and weapon trade in profits ranking between $9
and $20 billion annually (Barber-Meyer, 2010; Wilson-Wilde, 2010; Liddick, 2011). These high
gains have attracted criminal networks and organized crime in several parts of the world (Zimmer-
man, 2003; Europol, 2011; Interpol, 2012; van Uhm, 2012a; Nellemann et al. 2014; Sollund & Ma-
her, 2015).
Besides the well-known Great Apes, a lesser-known monkey species, the Barbary macaque
(Macaca sylvanus), is at least as threatened with an estimated wild population of around 5,000-6,000
individuals (Majalo et al., 2013). Again, it is the illegal trade that drives these animals to the edge of
extinction (van Lavieren, 2008; Waters, 2011; Radhakrishna et al., 2013). Remarkably criminologists
neglected to study illegal wildlife markets for a long time (Wyatt, 2009). According to South (2004)
the plundering of the earth’s natural resources has not been recognized as a crime until recently. Only
from the 2000s onwards, during the emergence of green criminology, a small number of criminolo-
gists started to focus on illegal wildlife trade (Zimmerman, 2003; Warchol, 2004; Schneider, 2008;
Lemieux & Clarke, 2009; Petrossian, 2012; Pires, 2012; Sollund, 2013; Wyatt, 2013). This article
aims to contribute to green criminological research on wildlife trafficking by discovering who is in-
volved in the illegal trade in Barbary macaques, how they do it and where this business takes place.
First the article will cover the methods used to collect primary data and secondary data. Further the
article elaborates on the development of the legislation and the history of the illegal trade. Continu-
1 Defaunation is an equivalent of deforestation and is used to refer to the loss of species, populations and local declines in abundance of
individuals of wildlife.
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
ously the structure, organization and modus operandi of the illegal business are discussed followed by
a discussion.
The primary research carried out for this article was part of a doctoral research on the illegal trade in
wildlife2. A multisite research model3 was used, based on semi-structured interviews, with 24 people
directly or indirectly involved in the illegal trade in the main source country Morocco. The method of
semi-structured interviews was chosen due to the fact that it accommodates flexibility (Decorte &
Zaitch, 2010), which allows specific issues to be addressed in more detail with a clear focus on the
organization, trade route and modus operandi of the illegal trade. During my fieldwork, I engaged in
participant observations and stayed in areas where wildlife was known to be poached (e.g. Azrou,
Ifrane) and in trading markets (e.g. Marrakesh, Tangier) to interview my informants and observe the
process. In these areas, I established relationships and met my informants involved in the illegal trade.
Eventually, two hunters in Azrou, nine traders in Marrakesh, Tangier, Oujda, Azrou and Nador, two
ex-traders in Azrou, two ex-smugglers in Azrou and Nador, one intermediary in Fez, two guides in
Cascades d’Ouzoud and Fez, one primate scientist in Tétouan and five animal traders were inter-
viewed in different Moroccan cities. These respondents were collected by the method of snowball
sampling; the future participants were recruited from among their acquaintances and through the first
point of access (Goodman, 1961). The interviews were conducted between March and April 2013 and
provided key information about the illegal trade. To maintain anonymity of my informants no names
are mentioned in this article.
To strengthen the primary data, secondary data of confiscations in the EU were obtained from the
European Union Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange database (EU-TWIX). Each year member
states provide their wildlife seizures to be recorded in this database. Subsequently, confiscation data
from CITES Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and the Spanish ‘Seprona Guardia Civil’ have
been obtained. This quantified only a part of the illegal trade as a large part of the trade is unreported
or undiscovered, the so-called dark number (Coleman and Moynihan, 1996). Law enforcement ex-
perts estimate that no more than 10% of all contraband of wildlife is seized (Stiles et al., 2013).
History, Decline and Regulation
Barbary macaques have been associated with humans for thousands of years. They have been found
mummified in Egyptian pyramids (Goudsmit & Brandon-Jones, 1999) and petrified in Pompeii (Bai-
ley et al., 1999). Barbary macaques were kept as pets by ancient Romans and Greeks (Hughes, 2003)
and were frequently found in early Etruscan art (McDermott, 1936). According to Sax (2001) the
word ‘monkey’ may be first used to refer to Barbary macaques in Europe. In the medieval period,
they were desired animals among nobility (Sax, 2001). Illustrations of Barbary macaque at Iron-Age
Navan Fort in Northern Ireland (McCormick, 1991) and fossils in Carrickfergus, representing import-
ed domestic pets, have been found (Taub, 1978). Keeping animals as pets was spread from the aris-
tocracy to the middle and lower class citizens during the 16th century (Thomas, 1984). Shakespeare’s
references to monkeys were probably linked to Barbary apes that were kept as pets by Italian courte-
sans (Kantha, 2014). The initial introduction of Barbary macaques in Europe (Gibraltar) was probably
by the Moors who occupied southern Iberia and kept them as pets (Jackson, 1987). Consequently, the
knowledge about apes in European literature during 1700-1900s was mainly based on Barbary ma-
caques (O'Flaherty & Shapiro, 2002). From the 1960s and 1970s on, the popularity of keeping mon-
keys as pets increased and Barbary macaques were for sale in department stores (e.g. ‘Harrods’ in
2 The research results are part of the doctoral research ‘Uncovering the illegal wildlife trade: inside the world of poachers, smugglers and
traders’ by Daan van Uhm at Utrecht University.
3 Multi-site research is a qualitative research approach to get in-depth knowledge of a phenomenon that has been barely explored. The re-
searcher uses the same research plan at various local, regional, national or international sites to get an overview of the phenomenon (Siegel,
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
London) all over Europe (e.g. Bierman & Smith, 2000; Sanglim, 2014). However, social and moral
norms changed and the trade became regulated in an answer to the substantial decline of the species
in previous decades.
In historic times, the Barbary macaque was an inhabitant of parts of Europe and virtually all of
North Africa (Lindburg, 1980; Camperio Ciani, 1986), but its current distribution is restricted to
small relict patches of forest in the rocky and mountainous parts of the Rif and Atlas Mountains (Mo-
rocco) and parts of the Tellian Atlas (Algeria) (Fa et al., 1984; Camperio Ciani, 1986; Ménard & Val-
let, 1993; Scheffrahn et al., 1993)4. The total population decreased from an estimated 21,500 individ-
uals in 1974 (Taub, 1977; Taub 1978) to 15,000 in the 1990s (Von Segresser et al., 1999), 10,000 in
2003 (Camperio Ciani, 2003; Modolo et al., 2005), and 5,000-6,000 in 2009 (Majolo et al., 2013). It
is estimated that the decline rate has exceeded 50% over the last three generations and this decline is
expected to continue in the future (Butynski et al., 2008). While the main threat is habitat loss (Fa,
1984; Camperio et al., 2005), the illegal trade in Barbary macaques for the pet trade has become one
of the greatest threats to the survival of the species (Radhakrishna et al., 2013). Especially from the
late 1990s, substantial amounts of Barbary macaques were illegally traded from Morocco to Europe
for the pet industry (van Lavieren, 2008)5.
The Barbary Macaque is classified as ‘endangered’ on the Red List of Threatened Species and has
been listed in Appendix II of CITES6 and Annex B of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation (EC 338/97)
(Butynski et al., 2008). Consequently, Barbary macaques are prohibited to be imported without prop-
er documents and since 2000 the European Community suspended imports from Morocco and Alge-
ria since trade was deemed to have a harmful effect on the species' status (Article 4.6b of EC Regula-
tion 338/97) (Butynski et al., 2008). In Morocco and Algeria capturing, possession, sale and hunting
are prohibited, with an exception for possession of Barbary macaques for cultural purposes at the
Djeema el Fna square in Marrakesh through a certificate of ownership (Royaume du Maroc, 2012).
The Beginning of a Lucrative Business
The history of trade in macaques in the late 20th century is mainly related to the demand for laborato-
ry animals. Up to the mid-1970s large numbers of Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) were imported
into Europe for the production of the polio vaccine, until a significant decline in the population made
a large replacement necessary by crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis) (Mack & Mittermeier,
1984). Still, 80% of the traded CITES mammals consisted of macaques for medicinal purposes during
2001-2010 (CITES trade database, 2013). In the past Barbary macaques were also obtained from the
wild for biomedical research. However, hunters misused the obligated certificates to catch additional
macaques for the pet trade. According to a former hunter in Azrou “This was the beginning of the
large-scale illegal trade in Barbary macaques. Sometimes ten monkeys were captured, while only one
was needed for biomedical research and the remaining monkeys were sold for the pet industry” (per-
sonal communication, March 15, 2013). The demand for monkeys can be characterized by the affec-
tion humans have by ‘owning’ a monkey (Goodall, 2009; Herzog, 2014). Primates are regularly inte-
grated in human family life and wear clothes, sleep in cribs and eat at the dinner table (Laufer, 2010).
From the late 1990s onwards, sanctuaries and zoological parks in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and
the Netherlands started to notice a substantial increase in the number of Barbary macaques being of-
fered to shelters, after being seized by law enforcement authorities. The majority of these monkeys
probably originated from the wild and was destined for the pet industry (van Lavieren, 2008). Based
on confiscations in the EU, this trend continued in the 2000s with the Barbary macaque being the
most seized CITES mammal in the EU, accounting for almost 25% of live mammal-related seizures
4 A semi-wild population of around 200 macaques lives in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve of Gibraltar in Europe.
5 Occasionally the Barbary macaques were used for monkey-fights and as guards.
6 CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international agreement between
governments that came into force in 1975 to ensure that no species of wild fauna or flora becomes or remains subject to unsustainable ex-
ploitation because of international trade.
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
during 2001-2010. Within this ten-year period, 86% of 49 EU seizures of 55 Barbary macaques oc-
curred in Spain with 90% originating from Morocco and 8% from Algeria. The average number of
smuggled Barbary macaques is one monkey per confiscation (N=49; M=1.1; SD=0.3) and most were
confiscated in Spain due to a lack of CITES documents (van Uhm, 2016a; van Uhm, 2016b).
Figure 1. Confiscations and shelter requests
However, the actual numbers of seizures are much higher based on data from CITES Belgium,
France, Italy, the Netherlands and the Spanish ‘Seprona Guardia Civil’: only between 2006-2010, 159
Barbary macaques were confiscated. Simultaneously, 219 requests to shelter Barbary macaques oc-
curred7. Figure 1 presents similar trends of seizures and requests for shelter with a peak in
2008.Several (former) hunters and illegal traders in Azrou and Oujda recognized this trend with num-
bers as high as 500 to 600 Barbary macaques traded illegally from the Azrou area in the late 2000s
(personal communication, March 15, 2013; personal communication April 27-29, 2013). If we as-
sume that 10% of the illegal monkeys are seized (Stiles et al., 2013), indeed around 500 Barbary ma-
caques (±50 confiscated animals) were illegally traded in 2008 and then around 200 Barbary ma-
caques may be traded nowadays. The decline from 2008 onwards is possibly caused by the economic
crisis in Europe (traders, personal communication, March 15 and April 27-29, 2013). In the next sec-
tion, I will discuss the process of the illegal trade.
Poaching and trafficking macaques
The first step in the operation is poaching of the Barbary macaques (يﺮﺑﺮﺒﻟا كﺎﻜﻤﻟا-). According to mul-
tiple respondents, Azrou and its surroundings (Middle Atlas in Morocco) is the center of the illegal
trade in Barbary macaques (trader, personal communication, March 13, 2013; trader, personal com-
munication, April 24, 2013; BMC, personal communication, April 25, 2013)8. The season for poach-
ing starts in spring (April) because there are many infant monkeys. A poacher in Azrou explains:
“There is a demand for young monkeys for two reasons. First, young monkeys get used to people bet-
ter than older ones and, secondly, they are easier to smuggle in suitcases or bags” (personal commu-
nication, April 29, 2013). This may explain the significant decrease in numbers of juvenile macaques
7 Because rescued macaques are occasionally moved to another shelter in the EU, double counting may explain the higher number of res-
cued animals compared to seizures.
8 There are indications that the trade is shifting to other parts in the Middle Atlas (e.g. Béni-Mellal).
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
and females in the Middle Atlas between 2007 and 2009 (Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts et à
la Lutte Contre la Désertification, 2012).
According to Wyatt (2013) there may be three generic kinds of poachers. The first category is the
subsistence poacher who lives in or nearby the poaching area. They poach illegal wildlife for personal
use (without trading) or money involved. Bongerian criminologists would label it as ‘crimes to sur-
vive’. Bonger (1932) linked crimes with poverty based on bread prices and arrests for theft. The se-
cond is the opportunistic poacher who also lives in proximity to the poaching area. They poach illegal
wildlife because the opportunity is available, not necessarily due to economic profits (Wyatt, 2013).
Pires (2012) and Petrossian (2012) found that situational incentives in the context of environmental
factors play an important role in illegal wildlife trade, such as parrot poaching and illegal fishing. In
contrast to the subsistence and opportunistic poacher, the specialist poacher is calculated in their cap-
ture. They sell it to middlemen or at the market to gain economic profits (Wyatt, 2013). The illegal
poaching is often a well-considered choice driven by high profits, low risks and minimal sentences
(Schneider, 2008).
The poachers are usually relatively poor local specialists from Berber villages in the Azrou area in
Morocco. This region is home to Morocco’s earliest inhabitants, the Berber tribes, who have been
living on herding for centuries (Wagner, 1993). They live in small villages in the middle or around
the cedar forests (personal observation, March 15 & April 28-29, 2013). While situational incentives
may play an important role (e.g. they live near the poaching area), they catch monkeys in particular
on demand by middlemen or tourists driven by economic gains. The poachers anticipate quickly on
the orders and can even deliver more than 10 monkeys a week on short notice. They usually work in
groups of four to eight people. Three poaching methods to capture the monkeys have been described
by (former) poachers (personal communication, March 15, 2014; personal communication April 29,
§ Hunters (6-7 people) isolate female macaques with infants from the group with trained
dogs. They goad them from the dense forest into a solitary tree, then saw the branches
and harass the mother with sticks and stones, until the babies are dropped.
§ Hunters place grids on the ground and wait until macaques walk over them. They then
pull on a rope that is connected to a net that hangs from trees and it falls to the ground so
that the monkey is caught in the net.
§ Hunters entice Barbary macaques with fruit or coconuts until they are close enough to
catch them.
Regularly, guides, lumberjacks and forest rangers are involved and receive a 100 Dirham 10)
commission if they refer potential buyers. Moreover, agreements are made with other local people to
poach outside the tourist spots in the Cedar Forest so as not to disturb the financial benefits from tour-
ism (poacher, personal communication, April 29, 2013; middleman, personal communication, March
14, 2013).
Based on my observation, monkeys are sold directly along the side of the road, but usually middle-
men semsar (رﺎﺴﻤﺳ-) organize the business. According to Wyatt (2013) middlemen are key individu-
als in smuggling operations moving wildlife along a network. They buy wildlife from the poacher and
transfer them to wildlife markets (Domalain, 1977; Nichol, 1987; Warchol, 2004). Middlemen ar-
range a smuggler to stay at a hotel in Azrou meanwhile poachers do their job for anywhere between
50-100 per monkey: “Within two days we can arrange their order and then they go back to resell the
monkeys in Tangier, Oujda or Marrakesh” (personal communication, April 29, 2013). The transport
of the monkeys from the forests to the trade hubs in Morocco (e.g. Tangier, Marrakesh) requires a
certain degree of sophistication. The monkeys may be hidden in the trunk of the car or additional ac-
tors like bus drivers or police officers are involved. For instance, one modus operandi between Azrou
and Oujda is as follows: one person gets on the bus in Azrou and registers suitcases or bags, with
monkeys hidden inside, as checked-in baggage and then gets off the bus at the second or third stop,
while leaving the luggage on the bus. If the bus is held for a police check and they find the macaques,
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
the bus driver has an alibi, because he has a receipt for the suitcases or bags that have been ‘forgotten’
by the traveler in question. Without a police check, the bus arrives in Oujda where someone else will
pick up the suitcases or bags with the monkeys and the bus driver is then paid (former smuggler, per-
sonal communication, April 28, 2013; bus driver, personal communication, April 29, 2013). Accord-
ing to the people in the trade, communication between hunters, middlemen and traders generally pro-
ceeds by mobile phone. One seller at the famous Djeema el Fna Square in Marrakesh underlined that
the use of mobile phones is relatively safe as prepaid cards can be easily bought and changed without
registration (personal communication, March 13, 2013).
Relatively large numbers of Barbary macaques are offered for sale (200-250) by traders in several
large Moroccan cities. For instance, a trader in Tangier explained during our meeting: “I just sold one
monkey yesterday, but there are two more for sale (…) Different people work for me to catch the
monkeys in Azrou and then I keep the monkeys in my house in Tangier city. (…) Monday a Europe-
an guy with a lorry will pick up three ordered monkeys” (personal communication, April 25, 2013).
Simultaneously another trader in Tangier sold a macaque to a European lady and showed later that
day pictures of a larger macaque for sale (personal observation, April 25, 2013). These domestic trad-
ers are often animal traders involved in legal and illegal animal trade. Symbiotic interrelation between
the under- and upper world are not uncommon. This collaboration between animal traders and mid-
dlemen or poachers is effective due to mutual benefits (Passas, 2002). The interdependence is charac-
teristic in the illegal trade in wildlife (e.g. Cook et al., 2002; Naylor, 2004; Lyons & Natusch, 2011).
Ilahiane & Sherry (2008) underline that the informal market is much more integrated in Morocco than
in the West. The souks (قﻮﺴﻟا-) stand in sharp contrast to the Western industrial model of doing busi-
ness whereby different types of trading intertwine. Though, legal animal traders use opportunities to
trade in Barbary macaques illegally to earn additional profits. While in Morocco the price for a mon-
key increases during the process from the poacher (50-100), intermediaries (120-150) to the trader
(200-250), the discrepancy between prices in Morocco and the EU is considerably higher with a ten-
fold increase from 200-250 to 2000.
Crossing the Ocean
The Strait of Gibraltar seems to be the natural border between Morocco and Spain. However, the
presence of Spanish territory (Melilla & Ceuta) on the north Moroccan coast represents an important
factor in its status as a ‘smuggler’s paradise’. For a long time smuggling has been a part of life in the
northern Rif of Morocco. Especially since the human population almost doubled between 1960-1970,
smuggling, of every item imaginable, was booming (McMurray 2001; Parnell & Kane 2003). For ex-
ample, people have become specialized in smuggling goods from Nador to Melilla (McMurray 2001).
However, smuggling live animals differs substantially from smuggling wildlife products such as ivo-
ry or rhino horn. To hide live monkeys and to keep them alive during the smuggling process requires
systematic planning and logistics (Stiles et al., 2013). Because the smugglers aim to limit the period
of time in transit to ensure the survival of the monkey, the route is mostly scheduled and appoint-
ments have been made between actors in the smuggling process. For this reason, the smugglers prefer
to transport the monkeys directly to the trader or buyer, without secondary activities (personal com-
munication, April 27, 2013; personal communication, April 28, 2013).
Young Barbary macaques are usually hidden in suitcases or bags under a car seat and incidentally
on the body9. Several dealers confirmed that to keep the macaque quiet and to decrease the macaque’s
stress levels, the monkeys are anesthetized with a sleep aid for children, n3as (سﺎﻌﻨﻟا-), which can be
bought from a regular pharmacy (personal communication, March 17, 2013; personal communication,
April 26, 2013; personal communication, April 27, 2013; personal communication, April 29, 2013).
“The syrup makes them sleep. Then you put the small monkey in a suitcase under the seat of your car
and cross the border to enter Spain” (personal communication, April 27, 2013). This syrup can anes-
9 Women may smuggle macaques on the body because they are not searched according to a former smuggler (personal communication,
April, 27, 2013).
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
thetize the monkey for up to 16 hours during the border crossing. This is more than enough since the
boat ride lasts a mere 45 minutes. According to a trader in Tangier: “If police stops you, you just say
it is a present for a friend to show that it is not a structural business (…) Of course you should hide
the monkey, but if they catch you and they see it is not organized business they let you go” (personal
communication, April 24, 2013).
Although most seizures (> 85%) include one Barbary macaque (van Uhm, 2016b), certain cases
contain large quantities. In 2012, six Barbary macaques were confiscated at the border between Hun-
gary and Serbia (MPC, 2012). Opportunistic small-scale traffickers or tourists smuggle usually one
Barbary macaque hidden in suitcases or bags in their car and cross the border by ferry to the EU. In-
cidentally, tourists smuggle the monkeys by aircraft where they are hidden in checked-in baggage
(EU-TWIX database, 2013)10. More organized forms of smuggling could include more anesthetized
monkeys hidden in cars or trucks. Additionally, there may be collaboration with legal actors such as
lorry drivers and custom officers. A trader in Marrakesh explains his symbiotic relationship with a
lorry driver who uses his legitimate trade to hide monkeys and, secondly, with custom officers that
can be bribed for around 200 to 500 Dirham (20-50) (personal communication, March 17, 2013). If
custom officers cannot be bribed, there is always a chance that they do not want to confiscate mon-
keys, out of a lack of priority or no shelter being available (BCM, personal communication, April 25,
The Monkey Route
Due to its strategic location and relatively close intercontinental border crossing, Morocco is well
known as the main port between Africa and the EU for the illegal drugs trade (cocaine, heroin, canna-
bis and synthetic drug precursors) and migration (UNODC, 2006; Europol, 2011; Carpenter, 2012),
as well as the illegal wildlife trade (Highfield & Bayley, 1996; Cowdrey, 2002). Out of 22,205 seized
wildlife shipments in the EU between 2001-2010, the majority originates from Africa with Morocco
on the top of the African list (612 illegal shipments), in which the Strait of Gibraltar operates as a
gateway for illegal wildlife from Africa to the EU. Regularly spur-thighed tortoises (Shipp, 2002;
Znari et al., 2005), Mediterranean chameleons (Bergin & Nijman, 2014), African grey parrots and
Barbary macaques (van Lavieren, 2008; Waters, 2011) are traded from Morocco, confirmed by sei-
zures (Van Uhm, 2016a). Already in the mid-1990s, Interpol (1996) noticed that Morocco is an im-
portant origin and transit country for illegal wildlife.
The illegal trade in Barbary macaques starts usually from the Azrou area in Morocco with struc-
tured orders (4-10 monkeys every two months) from Tangier, Marrakesh, Oujda, Casablanca and Fez
for the retail trade (Figure 2). A (former) trader estimates that around 200 macaques are captured in
the Azrou area for primary trade to the EU each year (personal communication, April 29, 2013). The
major portion of the monkeys is transferred to Tangier where ferries depart every 45 minutes to Alge-
ciras and Tarifa in Spain. Several traders arrange for macaques on demand, even more than 50 annu-
ally (personal communication, April 24, 2013). At Djeema el Fna square in the heart of Marrakesh
approximately 10 Barbary macaques are present daily for entertainment and sale. Sellers at the square
suggested that more than 30 macaques are sold each year at this square alone (personal communica-
tion, March 13, 16-18, 2013). Oujda, near the Algerian border is another trade hub from where 50-80
monkeys are sold each year and then are smuggled via Melilla to Spain, France and probably Italy
(trader, personal communication, April 27, 2013; convicted drug smuggler, personal communication,
April 28, 2013). Casablanca and Fez do have relatively small markets, however, there are still possi-
bilities to arrange macaques by intermediaries (middleman, personal communication, March 14,
2013). From these trade hubs European traders or tourists smuggle the monkeys by road and ferry
through the ports of Tangier, Ceuta and Melilla to Tarifa, Cadiz, Algeciras, Almeria and Alicante in
10 For instance, on a routine check on freight at Zaventem Airport (Belgium) one Barbary macaque from Morocco has been found on 08-10-
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
Spain11. The Schengen treaty provides unhindered trade to European destination countries (Cowdrey,
2002); especially France, Italy and Spain are major outlets (trader, personal communication, March
15, 2013; trader, personal communication, March 17, 2013; trader, personal communication, April
24, 2013)12.
Figure 2. Smuggling routes
Colliding Criminal Networks in Morocco
Previous research (e.g. Fa, 1983; van Lavieren, 2008) indicated that the trade in Barbary macaques
was loosely based on the tourist industry. Indeed, many respondents in this research referred to oppor-
tunists, usually European tourists who buy and smuggle one monkey to keep as a pet back home or
small-scale traders who reduce the costs of their holiday by reselling the monkey. According to a
trader at Djeema el Fna square in Marrakesh: “Regularly I sell them to European tourists who fell in
love with an infant monkey (…) They would like to keep them as pets or want to rescue them from
the use in entertainment” (personal communication, March 17, 2013). This makes sense in the context
of the increasing numbers of foreign visitors in Morocco, around 10 million each year, mostly from
Western Europe. According to Esmond & Chryssee (2012) tourists in Morocco are responsible for a
substantial illegal trade in live animals and their products.
Nevertheless, criminal networks with a high degree of organization have also been found in the il-
legal trade in Barbary macaques. Well-organized, semi-loose networks use sophisticated methods to
trade large orders of monkeys and earn relatively high profits. The animals are moved along a line of
contacts (a chain), where key aspects of the movement may be overseen by one or two central players
(Morselli, 2009; Elliott, 2009). The organized traders have a network with several legal and illegal
actors to transfer the Barbary macaques various times a year as a financial business. For instance, ac-
cording to traders in Marrakesh a (criminal) network has recently been established between Moroccan
and European traders. Their operations are based on a regular basis with the involvement of three or
more people in the chain. Once every two months the entrepreneurial European group gives an order
11 Based on confiscations in Spain between 2006-2012 the majority of the macaques were captured in the ports of Algeciras (27), Cadiz
(14), Alicante (13) and Melilla (10). An alternative former trade line is from Oujda through Oran (Algeria) to Alicante (Spain) and Mar-
seille (France).
12 Barbary macaques were seized in Spain (102), France (28), Belgium (21), Italy (5) and the Netherlands (3) between 2006-2010.
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
by phone to traders in Marrakesh. In Azrou, the macaques are captured by poachers and transported
to Marrakesh, where couriers are ready to smuggle the anesthetized macaques hidden in suitcases in a
van across the Strait of Gibraltar. When they arrive in Europe, they call to indicate that the mission
has been accomplished. Subsequently, the monkeys are transported to a domestic trader in the country
of destination (personal communication, March 17, 2013). This is just a single case of illegal trade on
a regular basis that is carried out by a chain of actors who poach, trade, transport and sell animals un-
der control of central key players (see figure 3 for alternative flows).
Figure 3. The generic illegal trade
Apparently, there is a regular movement of captured macaques smuggled by road from the rural ar-
ea of Azrou to urban areas, such as Tangier, Oujda and Marrakesh. From there, direct lines to Europe
are organized by different groups of entrepreneurs. The role of a courier between countries in a semi-
loose network is demonstrated by a former Spanish smuggler, who was deployed to transfer monkeys
multiple times a month from a trader in Tangier (Morocco) to a trader in Algeciras (Spain). Subse-
quently the animals were transferred to Northern Spain for sale. “For a period of eight years my
friend smuggled monkeys bought in Tangier to a trader in Algeciras (…) At the end he bought a
house in Spain with the profits of 1000 per monkey” (personal communication, April 25, 2013).
Each actor has his own task, specialty and profit within this network. A Spanish trader near Barcelona
had several monkeys under his supervision in 2008. In these flourishing business times, a consumer
could choose between six young macaques (MBC, personal communication, April 25, 2013). While
in the trading areas of Tangier and Melilla organized crime related to drug trafficking (e.g. the
Tangiers Cartel) has been identified (e.g. UNODC, 2003), the informants did not recognize the in-
volvement of classical Moroccan crime syndicates, Moroccan Res Kbir (ﺮﯿﺒﻛ سأر-), in the illegal trade
in Barbary macaques. However, the degree of organization is visible by the fact that it is even possi-
ble for the organizations to enter into a trade agreement to deliver more than 50 monkeys to Europe
each year (trader, personal communication, April 24, 2013).
Especially, the high profits and low risks and minimal sentences in the illegal wildlife trade are at-
tractive to criminal networks (Zimmerman, 2003; Schneider, 2008; Lawson & Vines, 2011). As men-
tioned, a Barbary macaque can be purchased for around 2000 Dirham ( 200) in Morocco and sold in
the EU for 2000 (10 times its original price). Assuming that the profit for the illegal trade in 50
monkeys per year would amount to around 100,000, the potential profit to be made would be
around 42 times the minimum yearly wage by Moroccan standards (United States Department of
State, 2012). The incentives for the illegal trade are thus obvious.
Barbary macaques have been traded and kept as pets for thousands of years; from the ancient Egyp-
tians, Romans and Greeks to the nobility in the medieval period and a more recent fashion explosion
in the 1960s and 1970s. Although in the past Barbary macaques were traded legally, in the late 20th
century the trade slowly became criminalized. Social and moral norms were subject to change as spe-
cies became threatened with extinction. Under pressure of several moral entrepreneurs and non-
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
governmental organizations, the trade in endangered exotic animals, such as Barbary macaques, be-
came restricted by regulation (CITES)13. Currently, trade in wild Barbary macaques is forbidden
without proper documents. The criminalization process proceeded with the prohibition of keeping
monkeys as pets in several European countries during the 1990s and 2000s. Belgium, Bulgaria, Esto-
nia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Andalucía, an autono-
mous community in Spain, have implemented bans on the keeping of primates as pets, while Den-
mark prohibits the import and private keeping of all primates, except marmosets and tamarins. It is
likely that other European countries will follow (Endcap, 2012; RSPCA, 2012).
The poachers and traders in Azrou are also more aware of being caught than before. While for a
long time the sale of monkeys took place in plain view in Morocco, currently the big deals are made
in the late evening to avoid the attention of the police (personal communication, March 15, 2013; per-
sonal communication, April 29, 2013). Some of my informants were shocked about the fact that a
friend was caught with three monkeys at the bus station in Azrou (personal communication, April 29,
2013). People involved in the trade explained that currently improved and sophisticated methods are
required to dodge law enforcement14. Nevertheless, the criminalization of the illegal trade is not com-
parable with other forms of crime, such as drugs or weapons. The plundering of the earth’s natural
resources is still a widely tolerated process (Stretesky and Lynch, 2014). Regarding the Barbary ma-
caque trade, regularly law enforcers do not confiscate monkeys due to a lack of priority or no shelter
being available and serious, large-scale criminal investigations are uncommon, if not completely lack-
ing. According to various illegal entrepreneurs, the border between Morocco and Spain is still quite
poorly controlled when it comes to the smuggling of wildlife (personal communication, March 15,
2013; personal communication, March 18, 2013). This is strengthened by a strong belief that the trade
is loosely based on the tourist industry.
However, as demonstrated in this study the degree of organization should not be underestimated.
The illegal trade in Barbary macaques is carried out by a chain of actors, collectors, traders, middle-
men, smugglers, and overseen by one or two central players. These involved networks are driven by
situational, rational and cultural incentives. Morocco seems to function as an important source coun-
try and transit hub of the illegal wildlife trade from Africa to the EU. The geographic location be-
tween two continents with the Strait of Gibraltar as close border crossing underlines the opportunities
provided by the infrastructure. Several traders highlighted this geographic advantage for other illegal
wildlife trades in Morocco too. Leopard skins are bought in wildlife markets in Mali, rolled in carpets
and smuggled through Morocco into the European Union (personal communication, March 13, 2013)
and spur-thighed tortoises are collected from the Middle Atlas and smuggled in boxes of 150-200 an-
imals across the border (personal communication, March 17, 2013). Additionally, the relatively low
priority by law enforcement, opportunities for corruption15 and rising prices on the black market are
attractive to criminal networks. Since the population of Barbary macaques is as few as 5,000-6,000
individuals left, the price may quickly increase in the near future. Currently prices of other monkeys,
such as gorillas, already reached as high as $40,000 (van Uhm, 2012b). However, certain western
countries point their finger at ‘those’ corrupt source countries in Africa (Boekhout van Solinge,
2010). Yet, blaming only the source countries ignores the other side of the market. The trade is de-
pendent on the cultural demand in Europe for extraordinary exotic animals. In Europe, the rarity of a
species determines its value on the black market and subsequently the demand (van Uhm, 2014;
2016b). This progressive rarity and the parallel rising value on the black market may be an important
13 While the populations of great apes on the CITES I list, such as chimpanzees (population: between 299,700 - 431,100), orangutans (popu-
lation: 54,000 and 6,600) and bonobos (population: 15,00020,000) (Stiles et al., 2013), are estimated to have a larger population, the Bar-
bary macaques still remain on the CITES list II. While it is the question if the existing regulatory framework of CITES is the right instru-
ment to prevent species for extinction (Sollund & Maher, 2015), with a very small wild population the Barbary macaque should at least be
included in CITES I to save the species from extinction.
14 Note that hunting has been criminalized within people’s lifetime.
15 Corruption is a major issue in Morocco (Transparency International, 2009).
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
driver of overexploitation by illegal entrepreneurs (Courchamp et al., 2006; van Uhm & Siegel,
Finally, in comparison to other forms of crime, the harms of the trade are significant. As green
criminologists do not limit their study of crimes defined by law, harms are included in their research.
Moreover, they reject the orthodox anthropocentric perspective of transgressions or harms against
humans and include the environment with its biodiversity and non-human species (Beirne and South,
2007; White, 2008; 2011). From this eco-centric perspective the impact of the trade in Barbary ma-
caques is not only reflected from anthropocentric harms, such as potential threat for health in the con-
text of distribution of zoonotic diseases (e.g. Ebola), but also environmental harms may be of rele-
vance (van Uhm, 2015). The estimated illegally traded 200 monkeys each year may have a serious
harmful effect on the remaining population, especially due to the focus on youngsters. By poaching
infant macaques, the adult population is not adequately replaced (Camperio Ciani & Mouna, 2006). If
this trend continues, the population has little opportunity to recover. In addition, in many small popu-
lations of endangered species the reproduction and survival is limited by mate shortage or limited ge-
netic variety. This ensures that a small population can extirpate at a higher rate than expected, the so-
called Allee effect (Courchamp et al., 2006). In addition, the harms to individual animals are substan-
tial during poaching, trade and at the final destination (Sollund, 2011; Nurse, 2013; Wyatt, 2013). A
high stress level is caused during the hunt where dogs are used to attack the monkeys with young-
sters, the monkeys are drugged with syrup to smuggle them across the border and to live, if they sur-
vive transport, in a human urban environment. Furthermore, the largest population (around 70%) of
Barbary macaques lives in the cedar forests in Middle Atlas of Morocco (Camperio Ciani et al., 2005;
Mouna et al., 1999). These forests are endangered ecosystems with several endemic and rare plant
and animal species16. Generally, monkeys play an important role in ecosystems as disseminators of
seeds (Wilson, 1993). The Barbary macaque disperse the seeds of many plants (Drucker, 1984; Herre-
ra, 1995; Ménard & Vallet 1996), is prey for golden jackals, red foxes and eagles and host a number
of ecto- and endoparasites (Jinn, 2011). From this ecocentric perspective the effect of the disappear-
ance of the Barbary macaque for the cedar forest ecosystem is incalculable.
This article has demonstrated that besides opportunistic tourists and small-scale traffickers, sophisti-
cated semi-structured networks are active in the harmful illegal trade in Barbary macaques from Mo-
rocco to the European Union. Yet, in the context of multiple incentives and low priority by law en-
forcement illegal trade will remain and the future of the small wild population of Barbary macaques is
highly debatable. Would in the succession of the Barbary lion and leopard the Barbary macaque,
which we have shared a large history; disappear in the cedar forests in the Middle Atlas? Or will ef-
fective interventions save the small population from its demise? In any case, it is a race against time
to save this ancient species from the edge of extinction.
Acknowledgements: I acknowledge the support of AAP Sanctuary for exotic animals, in particular David van Gennep,
Eline Lauret and Raquel García, the Barbary Macaque Conservation in the Rif (BMC) and the Moroccan Primate Conserva-
tion Foundation (BPC).
Barber-Meyer, S. M. (2010). Dealing with the Clandestine Nature of Wildlife. Trade Market Surveys. Conservation Biolo-
gy, 24(4), 918-923.
Bailey, J. F., Henneberg, M., Colson, I. B., Ciarallo, A., Hedges, R. E., & Sykes, B. (1999). Monkey business in Pompeii-
unique find of a juvenile Barbary macaque skeleton in Pompeii identified using osteology and ancient DNA techniques.
Molecular biology and evolution, 16, 1410-1414.
16 The last populations of Barbary lion and leopard were seen in the cedar forest ecosystem in the Middle Atlas and there would be still
small populations of lynx, hyena and Berber deer. Other mixed cedar forests can only be found in small parts of Lebanon, Cyprus and in
Anatolia in Turkey.
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
Beirne, P. & South, N. (Eds.). (2007). Issues in Green Criminology: Confronting Harms Against Environments, Humanity
and Other Animals. Cullompton: Willan publishers.
Bergin, D., & Nijman, V. (2014). Open, Unregulated Trade in Wildlife in Morocco’s Markets. Traffic bulletin, 26(2), 65.
Bierman, J. & Smith, C. (2000). Fire in the Night: Wingate of Burma, Ethiopia and Zion. Random House Inc.
Boekhout van Solinge, T. (2010). Deforestation crimes and conflicts in the Amazon. Critical Criminology, 18(4), 263-277.
Bonger, W.A. (1932). Inleiding tot de Criminologie. Haarlem: Erven Bohn.
Butynski, T.M., Cortes, J., Waters, S., Fa, J., Hobbelink, M.E., van Lavieren, E., Belbachir, F., Cuzin, F., de Smet, K.,
Mouna, M., de Iongh, H., Menard, N. & Camperio-Ciani, A. (2008) Macaca sylvanus. In IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species. IUCN.
Camperio Ciani, A. (1986). La Macaca sylvanus in Marocco: soprav- vivenza o estinzione. Osservazioni personali e dati
storico-demog- rafici. Antropologia contemporanea, 9 (2), 117132.
Camperio Ciani, A. (2003). Antropol. Mediterran, 1, 57-68.
Camperio Ciani, A., Palentini, L., Arahou, M., Martinoli, L., Capiluppi, C. & Mouna,M. (2005). Population decline of
Macaca sylvanus in the middle atlas of Morocco. Biological Conservation, 121, 635-641.
Camperio Ciani, A. & Mouna, M. (2006). Human and environmental causes of the rapid decline of the Barbary macaque in
the Middle Atlas of Morocco. In Hodges, J.K. & Cortes, J. (Eds.), The Barbary Macaque: Biology, Management & Con-
servation. Nottingham: University Press.
Carpenter, A. (2012, March). Security and Europe’s Sea Ports: threats and issues facing maritime gateways to Europe. Paper
presented at the Policing and European Studies research conference, Dundee, Scotland.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) trade database, 2013.
Coleman, C., & Moynihan, J. (1996). Understanding crime data: Haunted by the dark figure (Vol. 120). Buckingham: Open
University Press.
Cook, D., Roberts, M., & Lowther, J. (2002). The International Wildlife Trade and Organised Crime: A Review of the Evi-
dence and the Role of the UK. Regional Research Institute, University of Wolverhampton.
Courchamp, F., Angulo, E., Rivalan, P., Hall, R. J., Signoret, L., Bull, L., & Meinard, Y. (2006). Rarity value and species
extinction: the anthropogenic Allee effect. PLoS biology, 4(12), e415.
Cowdrey, D. (2002). Switching Channels. Wildlife trade routes into Europe and the UK. Wolverhampton, UK: University of
Decorte, T., & Zaitch, D. (2010). Kwalitatieve methoden en technieken in de criminologie. Leuven: Acco.
Dirzo, R., Young, H. S., Galetti, M., Ceballos, G., Isaac, N. J., & Collen, B. (2014). Defaunation in the Anthropocene. Sci-
ence, 345(6195), 401-406.
Domalain, J. Y. (1977). Animal connection. Confessions of an animal trafficker. London: Heineman.
Drucker, G. R. (1984). The feeding ecology of the Barbary macaque and cedar forest conservation in the Moroccan Moyen
Atlas. In The Barbary Macaque, pp. 135-164.
Elliot, L. (2009). Combatting Transnational Environmental Crime: Joined Up Thinking About Transnational Networks. In
Kangaspunta, K. & Marshall, I. (Eds.) Eco-crime and justice: essays on environmental crime. Turin: UNICRI.
Endcap. (2012). Wild Pets in the European Union. Endcap.
Esmond, M., & Chryssee, P.M. (2012). Tourists underwrite Morocco’s illegal trade in wildlife artefacts. SWARA.
Europol. (2011). Organised Crime Threat Assessment (OCTA). The Hague: Europol.
Europol. (2013). Serious and organised crime threat assessment (SOCTA). The Hague: Europol.
Fa, J. E. (1983). The Barbary macaque - the future. Oryx, 17(02), 62-67.
Fa, J.E. (1984). Habitat distribution and habitat preference in Barbary Macaques (Macaca sylvanus). International Journal of
Primatology, 5, 273-286.
Fa, J. E., Taub, D. M., Menard, N., & Stewart, P. J. (1984). The distribution and current status of the Barbary macaque in
North Africa. In The Barbary Macaque. Springer US.
Goodall, J. (2014). Want to Raise a Chimp? Think Again. retrieved from website.
Goodman, L. A. (1961). Snowball sampling. The annals of mathematical statistics, 148-170.
Goudsmit, J., & Brandon-Jones, D. (1999). Mummies of olive baboons and Barbary macaques in the Baboon Catacomb of
the Sacred Animal Necropolis at North Saqqara. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 45-53.
Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts et à la Lutte Contre la Désertification. (2012). Conservation Action Plan for the Bar-
bary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) inMorocco. Rabat, Morocco: Eaux et Forêts.
Herrera, C. M. (1995). Plant-vertebrate seed dispersal systems in the Mediterranean: ecological, evolutionary, and historical
determinants. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 26, 705-727.
Herzog, H. A. (2014). Biology, culture, and the origins of pet-keeping. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 1(3).
Highfield, A.C., & Bayley, J. R. (1996). The trade in tortoise-derived souvenir products in Morocco. Traffic Bulletin,
Hodges, J.K. & Cortes, J. (Eds.), The Barbary Macaque: Biology, Management & Conservation. Nottingham: University
Hughes, J. D. (2003). Europe as consumer of exotic biodiversity: Greek and Roman times. Landscape Research, 28(1), 21-
Interpol. (1996). Internal report: Noah. Lyon: Interpol.
Interpol. (2012). World Model UN. Lyon: Interpol.
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
Jackson, W. G. F. (1987). The Rock of the gibraltarians: a history of Gibraltar. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
Jinn, J. (2011). Ecosystem roles of the Barbary macaque. University of Michigan.
Kantha, S. S. (2014). Subhuman primates in Shakespeare’s oeuvre. Current Science, 106(7), 1021.
Laufer, P. (2011). Forbidden creatures: inside the world of animal smuggling and exotic pets. Rowman & Littlefield.
Lawson, K., & Vines, A. (2014). Global Impacts of the Illegal Wildlife Trade: The costs of crime, insecurity and institution-
al erosion. Chatham House.
Lemieux, A. M. & Clarke, R. V. (2009). The International Ban on Ivory Sales and its Effect on Elephant Poaching in Africa.
British Journal of Criminology. 45: 451-471.
Liddick, D. R. (2011). Crimes Against Nature: Illegal Industries and the Global Environment: Illegal Industries and the
Global Environment. ABC-CLIO.
Lindburg, D. G. (1980). The macaques: studies in ecology, behavior, and evolution. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.
Lyons, J. A., & Natusch, D. J. (2011). Wildlife laundering through breeding farms: illegal harvest, population declines and a
means of regulating the trade of green pythons (Morelia viridis) from Indonesia. Biological Conservation, 144(12), 3073-
Mack, D. & Mittermeier, R.A. (1984). The international primate trade. Traffic.
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. In Radhakrishna, S., Michael, A. Huffman & Anindya S. (Eds.), The macaque
connection. Cooperation and conflict between humans and macaques. New York: Springer.
McCormick, F. (1991). The dog in prehistoric and Early Christian Ireland. Archaeology Ireland, 7-9.
McDermott, W. C. (1936). The ape in Roman literature. Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Associ-
ation. 67, 148-167.
McMurray, D. (2001). In & Out of Morocco. Smuggling and migration in a frontier boomtown. London: Minneapolis.
Ménard, N. & Vallet, D. (1993). Population dynamics of Macaca sylvanus in Algeria: an 8-year study. American Journal of
Primatology, 30, 101118.
Ménard, N., & Vallet, D. (1996). Demography and ecology of Barbary macaques Macaca sylvanus) in two different habi
In Fa, J. E., & Lindburg, D. G. (Eds.). Evolution and ecology of macaque societies. Cambridge University Press.
Modolo L., Salzburger W., & Martin R.D.(2005). Phylogeography of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) and the origin
of the Gibraltar colony. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 73927397.
Mouna, M., Arahou, M. & Camperio Ciani, A. (1999). A propos des populations du singt-magot (Macaca sylvan us L) dans
le Moyen Atlas. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Biodiversity and Natural Resources Preservation,
pp. 105-109.
Morselli, C. (2009). Inside criminal networks. New York: Springer.
MPC. (2012). 6 Barbary macaques confiscated in Serbia. MPC.
Naylor, R. T. (2004). The Underworld of Ivory. Crime, Law & Social Change 42, 261295.
Nellemann, C., Henriksen, R., Raxter, P., Ash, N., Mrema, E. (Eds). 2014. The Environmental Crime Crisis Threats to
Sustainable Development from Illegal Exploitation and Trade in Wildlife and Forest Resources. A UNEP Rapid Response
Assessment. United Nations Environment Programme and GRID-Arendal, Nairobi and Arendal.
Nichol, J. (1987). Animal smugglers. Facts on File Publications.
Nurse, A. (2013). Animal harm: perspectives on why people harm and kill animals. Ashgate Publishing.
O'Flaherty, B. A. & Shapiro, J. S. (2002). Apes, essences, and races: What natural scientists believed about human variation,
1700-1900. New York: Columbia University.
Parnell, P.C., & Kane, S.C. (Eds.) (2003). Crime's Power: Anthropologists and the Ethnography of Crime. New York: Pal-
grave Macmillan.
Passas, N. (2002). Cross-border crime and the interface between legal and illegal actors. In van Duyne, P., von Lampe, K. &
Passas, N. (Eds.). Upperworld and underworld in cross-border crime, Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers, 11-41.
Petrossian, G. A. (2012). The decision to engage in illegal fishing: An examination of situational factors in 54 countries.
(Doctoral dissertation) Rutgers University.
Pires, S. F. (2012). The illegal parrot trade: a literature review. Global Crime, 13(3), 176-190.
Radhakrishna, S., Michael, A. Huffman & Anindya S. (Eds.) (2013). The macaque connection. Cooperation and conflict
between humans and macaques. New York: Springer.
Royaume du Maroc. (2012). Conservation Action Plan for the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) in Morocco. MPC.
RSPCA. (2012). Primates as pets: Is there a case for regulation? RSPCA.
Sanglim, S. (2014). Orde Wingate: A Man of Genius 1903-1944. Yorkshire: Pen and Sword Books.
Sax, B. (2001). The Mythical Zoo. An Encyclopedia of Animals in World Myth, Legend and Folklore. Santa Barbara, CA:
ABC Clio.
Scheffrahn, W., Ménard, N., Vallet, D., & Gaci, B. (1993). Ecology, demography, and population genetics of Barbary
macaques in Algeria. Primates, 34(3), 381-394.
Schneider, J. L. (2008). Reducing the illicit trade in endangered wildlife the market reduction approach. Journal of Contem-
porary Criminal Justice, 24(3), 274-295.
Shipp, A. (2002). Wildlife for Sale in Marrakech, Morocco. Traffic Bulletin, 19 (2), 65.
Siegel, D. (2009). The Mazzel Ritual: Culture, Customs and Crime in the Diamond Trade.New York: Springer.
© 2016 Journal of Trafficking, Organized Crime and Security, 2(1): 36-49
Sollund, R. (2011). Expressions of speciesism: the effects of keeping companion animals on animal abuse, animal traffick-
ing and species decline. Crime, Law and Social Change. 55(5):437-451.
Sollund, R.A. (2013). Animal Trafficking and Trade: Abuse and Species Injustice. In Walters, R., Westerhuis, D. S. & Wy-
att, T. (Eds.), Emerging Issues in Green Criminology: Exploring Power, Justice and Harm. New York: Palgrave Macmil-
Sollund, R. & Maher, J. (2015). The Illegal wildlife trade: A case study report on the illegal wildlife trade in the United
Kingdom, Norway, Colombia and Brazil. A study compiled as part of the EFFACE project. Oslo & Wales: University of
Oslo and University of South Wales.
South, N. (2004). The Greening of Criminology. In Carrabine et al. (Eds.), Criminology: A sociological introduction. Ab-
ingdon: Routledge.
Stiles, D., Redmond, I., Cress, D., Nellemann, C., & Formo, R. K. (Eds.). (2013). Stolen Apes: The Illicit Trade in Chim-
panzees, Gorillas, Bonobos, and Orangutans: a Rapid Response Assessment. UNEP.
Stretesky, P. B. & Lynch, M. J. (2014). Exploring Green Criminology: Toward a Green Criminological Revolution. Ashgate
Taub, D.M. (1977). Geographic distribution and habitat diversity of the BarbaryMacaque (Macaca sylvanus L.). Folia Pri-
matologica, 27, 108-133.
Taub, D. M. (1978). The Barbary macaque in North Africa. Oryx, 14(03), 245-253.
Thomas, K. (1984). Man and the natural world: Changing attitudes in England 1500-1800. Penguin UK.
Transparency International. (2009). National Integrity System: Morocco. Transparency International.
United States Department of State. (2012). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. United States Department of State.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2003). Country Profile Drugs and Crime: MOROCCO. Vienna: UNODC.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). (2006). Organized Crime and Irregular Migration from Africa to
Europe. UNODC.
van Lavieren, E. (2008). The illegal trade in Barbary macaques from Morocco. Traffic Bulletin, 21(3), 81-88.
van Uhm, D.P. (2012a). Organised Crime in the Wildlife Trade. In: Centre for Information and Research on Organised
Crime Newsletter, 10 (2): 2-4.
van Uhm, D.P. (2012a). Organised Crime in the Wildlife Trade. In: Centre for Information and Research on Organised
Crime Newsletter, 10 (2): 2-4.
van Uhm, D. P. (2012b). De illegale handel in beschermde diersoorten. Justitiële verkenningen, 28 (2): 91-100.
van Uhm, D. P. (2014). Criminaliteit en traditionele Chinese medicijnen. Proces, 93 (2): 130-143.
van Uhm, D.P. (2015). Towards moral principles regarding non-human animals: a green criminological perspective. In:
Overarching views of crime and deviancy. Rethinking the legacy of the Utrecht School. The Hague: Eleven International
Publishing, 565-588.
van Uhm, D.P. (2016a). Illegal trade in wildlife and harms to the world. In: Spapens ACM, White R, Huisman W(eds) Envi-
ronmental crime in transnational context. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing.
van Uhm, D.P. (2016b). Uncovering the illegal wildlife trade: inside the world of poachers, smugglers and traders.(doctoral
dissertation). Utrecht: Utrecht University.
van Uhm, D.P. & Siegel, D. (2016). The illegal trade in black caviar. Trends in Organized Crime, 19 (1): 67-87.
von Segresser. F., Menard, N., Gaci, B. & Martin, R.D. (1999). Genetic differentiation within and between isolated Algerian
subpopulations of Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus): evidence from microsatellites. Molecular ecology, 8, 433-442.
Wagner, D.A. (1993). Literacy, Culture and Development: Becoming Literate in Morocco. Cambridge: Cambridge Univer-
sity Press.
Warchol, G. L. (2004). The transnational illegal wildlife trade. Criminal justice studies, 17(1), 57-73.
Waters, S. (2011). Europe's other primate. ZooQuaria 75, 22-23.
White, R. (2008). Crimes against nature: Environmental criminology and ecological justice. Cullompton: Willan publishers.
White, R. (2011). Transnational environmental crime: Toward an eco-global criminology. London: Routledge.
Wilson, E. O. (2002). The future of life. Knopf.
Wilson-Wilde, L. (2010). Wildlife crime: a global problem. Forensic science, medicine, and pathology, 6(3), 221-222.
Wyatt, T. (2009). Exploring the organization of Russia Far East's illegal wildlife trade: two case studies of the illegal fur and
illegal falcon trades. Global Crime, 10(1-2), 144-154.
Wyatt, T. (2013). Wildlife trafficking: A deconstruction of the crime, the victims, and the offenders. Hampshire: Palgrave
Zimmerman, M. E. (2003). Black Market for Wildlife: Combating Transnational Organized Crime in the Illegal Wildlife
Trade, The Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 36, 1657-1689.
Znari, M., Germano, D. J., & Macé, J. C. (2005). Growth and population structure of the Moorish Tortoise (Testudo graeca
graeca) in Westcentral Morocco: possible effects of over-collecting for the tourist trade. Journal of arid environments,
62(1), 55-74.
... Recent research shows that portrayals of primates with humans in media and photographs affect people's perceptions of animals and their conservation status . A trend for keeping a particular species of primate as a pet has drastic repercussions for wild populations when wild-captured animals are sold into the illegal wildlife trade to feed demand Van Uhm, 2016). Even for captive-reared primates, there remains an unacceptably high cost to the psychological and physical welfare of individual animals (Soulsbury et al., 2009). ...
... One of the earliest, most consistently traded species of primates is the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) of North Africa. Outside of Egypt, this primate makes numerous appearances throughout ancient Europe and the Mediterranean ( Van Uhm, 2016). Janson (1952) describes the immense popularity of Barbary macaques and their trainers throughout Europe as early as the eleventh century. ...
Across the globe and across time, primates have been used in live performances and depicted through imagery to entertain audiences and tell stories. Technological advances have led to a proliferation of ways in which we consume media and with that, audiences for primates in entertainment have flourished. Here we review some of the ways primates are used as entertainers and examine representations of primates in contemporary media. We provide an overview of the role of primates in the entertainment industry and discuss issues of animal welfare and conservation. An understanding of the history primates in media and entertainment is critical to regulating these practices and ensuring the health and welfare of both humans and animals.
... Recent research shows that portrayals of primates with humans in media and photographs affect people's perceptions of animals and their conservation status . A trend for keeping a particular species of primate as a pet has drastic repercussions for wild populations when wild-captured animals are sold into the illegal wildlife trade to feed demand Van Uhm, 2016). Even for captive-reared primates, there remains an unacceptably high cost to the psychological and physical welfare of individual animals (Soulsbury et al., 2009). ...
... One of the earliest, most consistently traded species of primates is the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) of North Africa. Outside of Egypt, this primate makes numerous appearances throughout ancient Europe and the Mediterranean ( Van Uhm, 2016). Janson (1952) describes the immense popularity of Barbary macaques and their trainers throughout Europe as early as the eleventh century. ...
Pet primates are those kept typically for companionship, enjoyment, and status, although their uses as pets may extend beyond these parameters. The trade in pet primates is historically rooted, with many primates playing important roles in human cultures and religions. Thus, it is not surprising that current sociocultural trends reveal an ongoing fascination with primates and their purchase as status pets. Recent reports from various regions are presented in this chapter, demonstrating the need for drastic interventions to avoid further losses. Capture of animals for the pet trade may be intentional or opportunistic and is often exacerbated by internet trade and social media. This situation is complicated by the difficulty of obtaining accurate numbers of primates bought and sold illegally. The health and welfare of primates captured or kept as pets is another area of great concern. Long-term solutions will require attention from governmental, professional, and public actors on local and international levels.
... In Morocco, the Barbary macaque has been protected under the agricultural minister Decree since 1962, prohibiting capture, hunting, possession, and sale. In addition, the trade of this species is protected under Moroccan Act No. 29-05 (June 2015), which gives legal protection for the species against importation, capture, sale, offer for sale, or killing without a specific license (Van Uhm 2016 In Morocco and Algeria habitat destruction due to farming, overgrazing and logging is the main threat for the Barbary macaque. The human-macaque conflict is intense in some parts of Morocco and Algeria and the illegal trade of Barbary macaques is a major concern for the conservation of the species (Van Uhm 2016). ...
... Many primates in non-range countries such as the United States or European countries enter rescue centers and sanctuaries from research, entertainment, and pet industries. For example, despite the endangered Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) being native to north Africa, it is the most confiscated mammal in the European Union (Uhm, 2016). Rescue animals end up in sanctuaries in Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. ...
The rescue, rehabilitation, and reintroduction of nonhuman primates (henceforth, primates) from captive and wild settings are three sequential strategies which improve species conservation and individual welfare. Rescue refers to the removal of individuals from situations of cruelty, danger, illness, or risk which harm their well-being. Upon rescue, individuals requiring ongoing veterinary care and/or supervision undergo rehabilitation. This process differs depending on the needs of the individual primate; while those rescued from both wild and captive circumstances may undergo rehabilitation, only the former group is typically candidate for reintroduction. Reintroduction refers to the release of rehabilitated individuals into spaces where they historically ranged, with the goal of improving species conservation. In practice, however, reintroduction often occurs in the interest of improving primate welfare, which can complicate conservation objectives. This chapter reviews the literature from the past couple of decades on primate rescue, rehabilitation, and reintroduction – emphasizing the call for continuing to develop multidisciplinary, ethical, and evidence-based “best practices.”
In Organized Environmental Crime, Daan van Uhm breaks new ground by rejecting the classic image of organized crime as specializing in one kind of criminal activity. Instead, he develops an innovative approach to understanding how organized crime groups diversify into the illegal trade in natural resources by looking at the convergence between environmental crime and other serious crimes. Personal stories from informants directly involved in organized crime networks offer unique insights into the black markets in gold, wildlife, and timber in three environmental crime hotspots: the Darién Gap, a remote swath of jungle on the Colombia-Panama border in Latin America; the Golden Triangle, a notorious opium epicenter in Southeast Asia; and the eastern edge of the Congo basin, an important conflict area in Central Africa. The proliferation of organized environmental crime exacerbates the global destruction of ancient rainforests; the mass extinction of species; and the pollution of the atmosphere, land, and water, negatively affecting planet Earth. By uncovering its incentives, features, and harms, this book is crucial to understanding organized environmental crime in a rapidly changing world.
Full-text available
Illegal and/or unsustainable trade is a major obstacle to effective primate conservation. The wildlife trade in the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) is significant, but for many species, such as primates, the trade is poorly understood and sparsely reported. All EU countries are Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); all primates are listed on Appendix I or II of CITES and are included on Annex A or B of Regulation (EC) No 338/97. We here combine data from several databases (CITES, UN Comtrade, TRAFFIC WiTIS) and seizure reports, to provide a narrative of the trade in primates into and within Europe. The legal import of live primates (2002–2021) amounted to 218,000–238,000 individuals (valued at US$ 869 million), with France, the UK, and Spain as the main importers and Mauritius, Vietnam, and China as the main exporters. Over 21,000 primate parts (trophies, skulls, bodies) were imported mainly from African countries, and UN Comtrade data suggests that ~ 600 tonnes of primate meat was imported mainly from Asia. The vast majority of live primates are either captive-born or captive-bred, and this proportion has increased over time. Reports of the illegal primate trade are far from complete, but the illegal trade of specific species or primate meat can have negative impacts of wild populations of already imperiled species. Stronger policies and more effective enforcement in consumer countries, such as the EU, would also aid in, and garner support for, better protecting primates in primate range states.
Full-text available
The illegal wildlife trade has increasingly been linked to organized crime in recent years. In particular, Chinese crime groups seem to be major players in more organized forms of this trade. This article examines the involvement of Chinese organized crime groups in the trade of wildlife in the borderlands of the Golden Triangle. We will discuss the representation of Chinese crime groups in the illegal wildlife trade by looking at: a) the diversification of these crime groups into wildlife crimes and b) the outsourcing of activities to local opportunistic crime groups in neighboring Laos and Myanmar. We conclude that the different representations of Chinese crime groups overseas involved in the illegal wildlife trade are important in order to understand the roles of diversification and outsourcing.
Full-text available
The illegal wildlife1 trade is estimated to be the second-largest illegal trade worldwide (Warchol, 2007; Zimmerman, 2003; South and Wyatt, 2011), and it is steadily increasing (for example Smith, 2010; Stoett, 2002; Traffic, 2008), due to a globalised and expanded market in which the World Wide Web plays a significant role as an intermediary between offers and demands (IFAW, 2008). The illegal wildlife trade threatens one third of the world’s species (Rivalan et al., 2007); the best-known species are the rhinoceros (for its horn) and the elephant (for its tusks) (Wasser, Clark and Laurie, 2009). In this chapter, I will first give a brief overview of the phenomenon, with a special focus on the parrot and reptile trades. Then I will show how a Norwegian case study reflects international findings and how the trade in endangered species in this country may be related to the international market. As reptiles are forbidden in Norway, this provides an interesting case for discussing problems of legalisation and regulation of the trade through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES Convention) versus criminalisation. Finally, I will discuss the trade in nonhuman species from a harm and justice perspective.
This book provides a comprehensive, global exploration of the scale, scope, threats, and drivers of wildlife trafficking from a criminological perspective. Building on the first edition, it takes into account the significant changes in the international context surrounding these issues since 2013. It provides new examples, updated statistics, and discusses the potential changes arising as a result of COVID-19 and the IPBES 2019 report. It also discusses the shift in trafficking ‘hotspots’ and the recent projects that have challenged responses to wildlife trafficking. It undertakes a distinctive exploration of who the victims and offenders of wildlife trafficking are as well as analysing the stakeholders who are involved in collaborative efforts to end this devastating green crime. It unpacks the security implications of wildlife trade and trafficking and possible responses and ways to combat it. It provides useful and timely information for social and environmental/life scientists, law enforcement, NGOs, and policy makers. Tanya Wyatt is Professor of Criminology at Northumbria University, UK. Her research focuses on green crimes, such as wildlife trafficking and animal welfare, and these crimes' intersection with organized crime, corporate crime, and corruption.
The major objective of the investigation of the Baboon Catacomb in Saqqara in 1996 was to establish the species, sex and age at death of all its surviving monkey cranial material. 146 of the estimated 169 individuals were identified as olive baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis). Twenty-one Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) were identified. Two guenons were determined as Cercopithecus aethiops. Males outnumbered females by more than 2:1; infants and young juveniles were scarce. The 12% proportion of macaques is remarkable, since the habitat of this species is restricted to the mountainous areas of north-west Africa, in contrast to the extensive African savannah distribution of the green monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) and baboons.
The concept of this book arises from a symposium entitled "Human-Macaque Interactions: Traditional and Modern Perspectives on Cooperation and Conflict " organized at the 23rd Congress of the International Primatological Society, that was held in Kyoto in September 2010. The symposium highlighted the many aspects of human-macaque relations and some of the participants were invited to contribute to this volume. The volume will include about 11 chapters by a variety of international authors and some excerpts from published literature that illustrate cultural notions of macaques. Contributions from invited authors will engage with four main perspectives - traditional views of macaques, cooperative relationships between humans and macaques, current scenarios of human-macaque conflict, and how living with and beside humans has affected macaques. Authors will address these concerns through their research findings and reviews of their work on the Asian, and the lone African, macaques. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013. All rights are reserved.
In this book the author examines the illegal wildlife trade from multiple perspectives: the historical context, the impact on the environment, the scope of the problem internationally, the sociocultural demand for illegal products, the legal efforts to combat it, and several case studies from inside the trade. The illegal wildlife trade has become a global criminal enterprise, following in the footsteps of drugs and weapons. Beyond the environmental impact, financial profits from the illegal wildlife trade often fund organized crime groups and violent gangs that threaten public safety and security in myriad ways. This innovative volume covers several key questions surrounding the wildlife trade: why is there a demand for illegal wildlife products, which actors are involved in the trade, how is the business organized, and what are the harmful consequences. The author performed ethnographic fieldwork in three key markets: Russia, Morocco, and China, and has constructed a detailed picture of how the wildlife trade operates in these areas. Conversations with informants directly involved in the illegal business ensure unique insights into this lively black market. In the course of his journey the author follows the route of the illegal wildlife trade from poor poaching areas to rich business districts where corrupt officials, legally registered companies, wildlife farms and sophisticated criminal organizations all have a share. A fascinating look inside the world of poachers, smugglers and traders.