Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of 6.7 km2 and is bordered to the north by Spain. The landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar.
Over 500 different species of flowering plants grow on the Rock. Gibraltar is the only place in Europe where the Gibraltar candytuft is found growing in the wild; the plant is otherwise native to North Africa. It is the symbol of the Upper Rock nature reserve. Olive and pine trees are among the most common of those growing around the Rock.
Most of the Rock's upper area is covered by a nature reserve which is home to around 230 Barbary macaques, the famous 'apes' of Gibraltar, which are actually monkeys. These are the only wild apes or monkeys found in Europe. This species, known scientifically as Macaca sylvanus, is listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List and is declining. Three-quarters of the world population live in the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco. Recent genetic studies and historical documents point to their presence on the Rock before its capture by the British, having possibly been introduced during the Islamic period. A superstition analogous to that of the ravens at the Tower of London states that if the apes ever leave, so will the British.
Other mammals found in Gibraltar include rabbits, foxes and bats. Dolphins and whales are frequently seen in the Bay of Gibraltar. Migrating birds are very common and Gibraltar is home to the only Barbary partridges found on the European continent.
In 1991, Graham Watson, Gibraltar's MEP, highlighted conservationists' fears that urban development, tourism and invasive plant species were threatening Gibraltar's own plants as well as birds and bat species.