There may be plenty of 'man made' attractions
and activities awaiting those who embark on Gibraltar travel, but here
at Visit Gibraltar (http://www.visitgibraltar.gi), we fear that we wouldn't be
giving you a well-rounded picture of the British Overseas Territory if we
didn't also mention its bountiful wildlife. Certainly, Gibraltar has long been
a destination of choice for those wishing to get closer to nature, even if they
are only initially aware of its internationally famous Barbary macaque monkeys.
Certainly, the Gibraltar monkeys have a
curious association with the territory's long period of British rule, with
legend dictating that this will remain the case for as long as they remain in
residence. It was this belief that moved British Prime Minister Sir Winston
Churchill to order the replenishment of the local population in 1942 from
Moroccan and Algerian forest fragments, when their number had dwindled to just
seven monkeys. The monkey has also been a fixture of the Gibraltar pound's
five-pence coin since 1988, and you may even remember Timothy Dalton as James
Bond, being startled by one at the start of 1987's The Living Daylights.
These days, those on a Gibraltar holiday can
observe these tailless monkeys at close hand at the Apes' Den (Queen's Gate),
as well as in the area of the Great Siege Tunnels. Gibraltar is the sole place
in Europe where you'll find free-living Barbary macaques, so take your time in
appreciating their natural behaviour while keeping your distance!
But for all of the undoubted fascination that
many people have with the charming, friendly and inquisitive Barbary macaques,
the wider wildlife associated with Gibraltar
tourism is truly rich and diverse. That is routinely appreciated by those
sailing into the bay and finding their boat followed by pods of leaping
dolphins and flying fish, while those scaling the Upper Rock will find a
renowned nature reserve. There's also a new wildlife park to be discovered in the
famous public park, the Alameda Gardens.
Those arriving at the Upper Rock Nature Reserve
in the spring and autumn encounter millions of migrating birds, with large
roaming raptors like vultures, eagles and buzzards being especially
well-represented. The Peregrine Falcon, Barbary Partridge and Blue Rock thrush
are also resident here. The rich wildlife in the Alameda, meanwhile, is
encouraged by the general lack of use of herbicides and pesticides, with the
Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, Greenfinch and Wren just some of the bird species
nestling here. They are joined by reptiles like the Moorish Gecko and even bats
such as the Pipistrelle, a common sight during the day.
Finally, how could you miss the chance to
observe the aforementioned dolphins on your holidays in Gibraltar?
Visit Gibraltar (http://www.visitgibraltar.gi) firmly recommends that you take
advantage of a boat trip to see these intriguing animals up close. There are
three species of dolphin to be found in various areas around the Gibraltarian
coast, with even whales migrating here, including the Blue Whale. It all adds
to the territory's fascinating wildlife mix.