Barbary macaque monkeys are used as props for tourist photographs, many dressed in clothes or nappies. Chains are put around their necks to enable them to be dragged around from person to person. The macaques are exposed to crowds of people, loud noises and extreme temperatures. Most are crammed into dark travelling crates and kept in poor conditions.
It is difficult to train a wild adult animal to be used as a photo prop, so infant Barbary macaques are often snatched from their mothers in the wild and hand-reared because they are easier to tame. Using wild animals as photo props is actually illegal in Morocco but it seems to be tolerated in the square, the city’s historic centre and UNESCO World Heritage site, because it is traditional.
Other captive animals can be found in the square, with numerous snakes used for snake-charming and birds of prey as photo props. There are also cages of wild species for sale, including chameleons, tortoises and small mammals, plus animal parts and skins.