Project Description


Pipa is a victim of the illegal trafficking of exotic species.
She was intercepted by the authorities in Valencia, Spain, where she was found hidden in a shoebox in a car returning from Morocco. Her captor was planning to sell her in to the pet trade.


Date of Birth:  2003
Place of Birth:  In the Wild
Arrival at MONA:  2003



Pipa arrived here at six or seven months old and was the second macaque to be rescued by MONA. Since childhood she showed a strong character and the caregivers nicknamed her “the snitch” because with vocalisations she always warned Katy (the dominant female at the time) when the other macaques of lower status were trying to eat. Unlike all the other macaques, Pipa has never shown stress and anxiety behaviours.
When Abu arrived in 2009, she attacked him on many occasions and used him to send messages to Katy. Finally one day Katy surrendered her position and since then Pipa has been the troop leader.


Pipa is the only macaque in the group who lives a quiet, easy life because of her strong position and very dominant control. In contrast to how she treats her group, she is the least aggressive of all with the caregivers.
Visually she is well distinguished from others because she has more hair and looks more beautiful.
In 2018, it was the time to give all 4 Macaques their health check, this required them to voluntarily enter a catching cage. For Titin, Katy and Abu this is a relatively easy task as they know they get special rewards when they are in there. However, with Pipa it’s quite the opposite as she is more intelligent than the others and knows what the catching cage is used for. This means a caregiver needs to gain a lot of trust with Pipa to have her enter. Pipa loves enrichment and solving puzzles, so this element was added to the training. A target stick was created (a tennis ball on a bamboo stick), and used with a clicker. Pipa really loves touching the target and getting a reward. This new routine has enabled the caregivers to make her feel comfortable entering the catching cage and they are now able to successfully catch her for her vet check ups.
With Pipa really enjoying enrichment and puzzles, her caregivers have been able to provide lots of new and exciting items for the Macaques. The Macaques have many new puzzles that they all enjoy using, but Pipa gets the most use. These puzzles also help to keep Pipa occupied so the others can eat in peace!


These primates are of the species Macaca sylvanus, the only genus of macaque that lives in Africa and the only primate, apart from Homo sapiens living in Europe (Gibraltar). Pipa belongs to the only group of macaques living permanently in MONA. The group is formed by two females and two males and is led by Pipa. In the wild, Macaques live in groups containing males and females.
Higher ranking individuals get first access to food and other resources, which means here at MONA, with Pipa being the dominant female she gets first choice of food and enrichment.


  • She loves to be groomed while she lies down and relaxes.
  • Her favourite foods are bread, apple, dandelion leaves and nuts. She particularly loves peanuts and walnuts! In fact, she will do pretty much anything for a walnut (which is handy when caregivers need to move her to another enclosure!).


  • When Pipa is relating with others she is strangely silent, even when going to attack.
  • When she has hunted and caught a shrew, she carries and grooms it for a few days. Pipa and Titin will sit close together and also lipsmack at the shrew.
  • When she moves through the enclosure, everyone else is monitoring her from the corner of their eyes.
  • When the Chimps are fighting, Pipa will go to the fence and start vocalising towards them.
  • This Halloween we gave the Macaques a pumpkin, Pipa ripped it open with her teeth, it was amazing for the caregivers to see.