A rare Barbary macaque monkey has been born in a wildlife sanctuary in County Donegal. 

Wild Ireland in County Donegal is celebrating the birth of the rare monkey, which is described as endangered by the International Union for Conservation and Nature. 

Native to the Atlas Mountains in North Africa and the Rock of Gibraltar on the Iberian Peninsula, Barbary macaques are the only species of monkey native to Europe but are under threat from humans and other animal predators, such as large birds. 

Killian McLaughlin, owner of the Wild Ireland sanctuary, said the baby macaque was born to mother Sandy and father Azen but added that he does not yet know if the baby is a boy or a girl because its mother is being very protective at present. 

The macaque family arrived at the sanctuary from France two years ago along with the baby's older sister Ellie and its grandmother Judith. 

McLaughlin described the birth as a "huge deal". 

"The birth of any endangered species is a huge deal," he told the BBC. 

He additionally told RTÉ News that the mission of Wild Ireland is to provide a "safe haven" for endangered animals. He added that the sanctuary aims to contribute to the global fight against extinction. 

The Barbary macaques live on an island at the sanctuary where they are able to forage for food, climb trees, and go into the water. 

Many animals at the sanctuary have been rescued from places where they have been abused, including laboratories, circuses, and the illegal pet trade. 

Barbary macaques, for example, are often poached and used as photographers' props on beaches in Spain and Portugal, where tourists can have their picture taken with a baby macaque on their shoulder, according to McLaughlin.

Other animals living at the sanctuary include brown bears, wolves, and lynxes. 

Conservation and rehabilitation are the key aims of the sanctuary, which is open to the public. 

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