Monkey World assists governments around the world to stop the smuggling of primates from the wild.

At the Centre refugees of this illegal trade as well as those that have suffered abuse or neglect are rehabilitated into natural living groups.

Rescue & Rehabilitation
Monkey World | Ape Rescue Centre

You can now follow us on our
official page on

For more information

You can now follow us on our
official page on

For more information

Spring 2003

The Last Beach Chimp Comes to Monkey World

On February 19th Jim and Alison Cronin returned to Monkey World from Spain with the last beach photographer's chimp. His name is Alberto and we estimate that he was smuggled into Spain, as an infant, during 1988 or 89. His first owner was a beach photographer who used Alberto as a prop to entice tourists to have their photo taken with the cute baby. As it happened however, Monkey World had just started a proactive campaign with the Spanish authorities and Simon and Peggy Templer, an ex-patriot couple that had started rescuing chimps many years prior. So it was not long before the Guardia Civil went after Alberto's owner and told him that he would have to stop working the chimp or be arrested. Alberto's owner promised that he would not use the chimp for photography, or any other financial purpose, but he wanted to keep the young chimp as a pet. The authorities agreed and Alberto lived with the photographer and his wife for another eight years until the day the photographer died. Not knowing what to do, the wife took Alberto to a dog and cat shelter outside of Barcelona and here he has stayed, living on his own for six years.

Monkey World was first learned about Alberto a few months ago when an organisation called Depana contacted us, as they were concerned about the welfare of the adult male chimpanzee. While the animal shelter cared for the Alberto, the conditions in which he was kept were not suitable and he had no companionship of his own kind. Depana asked if we could give him a home with other chimps as they had already talked to Madrid and permission had been granted to move the chimp to a new home. Thus it was just a case of organising the correct permits from the British Ministry of Agriculture for Alberto to come to Britain.

Prior to moving him, Jim and Alison had made an initial trip to Spain to meet Alberto and assess his character. They wanted to find out if the male chimp was overly aggressive, if he exhibited extreme abnormal behaviour, or if he had any physical problems. The chimp they met turned out to be very friendly, enjoyed playing with people, and appeared to be quite well adjusted considering his spartan living conditions. The next step was to organise a medical check to ensure Alberto was healthy. Monkey World contacted Barcelona Zoo to see if their veterinarian, Jesus Fernandez, could visit Alberto and conduct all of the relevant tests. Over the years, Barcelona Zoo has been instrumental in organising all of the paper work and veterinary cover to move 29 chimps from Spain to Monkey World. With the tests all clear and the paper work complete, Alberto was ready to move!

Once at the park, Alberto was settled into several of the bedrooms in the pavilions. The keepers had specially prepared the rooms with extra shelving, hammocks, fire hoses, and toys to keep the newcomer occupied. Alberto was over the moon, not only did he have more room to move about in, he also had ropes to swing on and hammocks to lie in. Even so the most interesting aspect of his new home was the strangely familiar voices calling out to him from inside the same building! The bachelor group had seen the new box being carried into the building and they were as excited as Alberto was. But the introductions would have to wait until another day as Alberto had a broken finger on his right hand. The skin was the only thing that held the end of his finger in place but when meeting and playing with the other chimps, it could have been torn off. After a couple of days to settle in, our veterinarian, John Lewis came to the park to give Alberto a second health check and to amputate his broken finger. The operation went well and after a couple days recovery it would be time for Alberto's first meeting with other chimpanzees.

At 15 years old and having never lived with any other chimpanzees, since he was stolen from his mother in the forests of Africa, it was unlikely that Alberto was going to get along with the other chimps straight away. We started by introducing him to Butch through the dividing mesh in the back bedrooms. Butch was scared as he had been separated from the nine other bachelors and was not feeling so confident on his own. Alberto, on the other hand, was overly confident and with every hair standing on end he tried to attack Butch through the protective mesh. It was clear that while Alberto was very nice and gentle with people he was going to prove to be a thug and bully with the other chimps. We decided to try the introductions again but this time with only an 18-inch panel of mesh so that Alberto would have to sit calmly in one place to see the chimps next door. For the next introduction we put Rocky and Mojo along side the newcomer. While Mojo was scared to death, Rocky was very interested and wanted to make contact with Alberto. Still Alberto tried to be aggressive but it was not so easy with just a tiny window to fight through.

Over the past couple of weeks we have decided that Sammy is the best individual to start off with Alberto. Day after day we have been letting the two boys sit along side of each other for a few hours and Alberto's behaviour has got calmer. After seeing Sammy for several days the novelty and excitement has worn off and now Alberto is starting to think about and observe the hairy stranger next door. Alberto's rehabilitation is going to take a long time but this much we expected. Although his initial introductions have not been the most gracious, we are confident that he has a very nice and friendly character and that soon he will be as friendly to chimps as he is with humans.

More Atrocities from the British Pet Trade

Most of you will be aware that over the years Monkey World has been campaigning to stop the trade in primates as pets in the UK. At present hundreds of monkeys are kept in private hands across Britain and many suffer in terrible conditions while being kept in solitary confinement just so that someone can have an exotic pet. Every year Monkey World is called upon to rescue any number of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus), capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), and common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) from this hideous and unnecessary trade. This past winter has been no different and over the cold winter months, Monkey World was able to offer a new home and family to two very sad monkeys.

Our first story began in January when we were contacted by a family that had just separated and wanted to re-home their young male capuchin monkey. TJ the monkey had been purchased from a small zoo in Kent when he was only six months old and still clinging to and nursing from his mother. Zoo staff caught TJ's mother and took the baby from her to sell for £600.00. The zoo told the unsuspecting buyers that TJ would not get any bigger, that it was alright for him to live on his own, and that he would only live for 10 years. All of this information was untrue as capuchin monkeys, at only six months old, will more than double in size, they need to live in social groups as troops can have up to 15 individuals in the wild, and they can live to be 30 – 35 years old. Luckily for TJ, his new owners tried to do the best for him that they knew how. They built him an outside cage with a small house but unfortunately, there was almost no heat for this tropical monkey as there was only a tiny radiator in the safety porch of his cage.

On January 16th Jim and Alison Cronin went to Wigan to collect TJ. It did not take long to catch the young monkey in a net and get him into his travelling box ready to head for Dorset and a new life. At the park, TJ was first introduced to Sinbad as we hoped that these two males would bond and enjoy playing together. This first meeting went brilliantly and the newcomer felt confident enough in Sinbad's company that he was seen taking food from Sinbad's mouth. On day two, we added Terri, an older female to the mix and this introduction also went very well. TJ seemed happy to basically ignore Terri but his young and boisterous behaviour eventually got on her nerves and by the end of the day we separated Terri off overnight. TJ was also happy to ignore Jerry, an elderly male, and it wasn't until big bad Tom was let in on the action that we saw TJ get excited for the first time. It is hard to say why TJ was so taken with Tom, but at first sight he went straight to the big male, chattered away, followed him around, and finally jumped on Tom's back as if he were his mother! Tom enjoyed all of TJ's attention but was not so sure about the piggyback game. All five capuchins have been getting along brilliantly ever since.

A couple of week later we received several calls about a six month old marmoset monkey that was kept in inappropriate conditions and was being sold at a garden centre in Faversham, Kent. The tiny marmoset was kept in a birdcage, in solitary confinement, and was for sale for £650.00. We tracked the garden centre down but the monkey had already been sold and we gave up hope that anything could be done. Then the following day, we received another call from the people who had purchased the sad monkey! They said that they only bought the monkey in order to save it, and wanted to know if we could give Harry the marmoset a proper home with others of his own kind.

On February 1st Jim and Alison headed out again – this time to collect Harry the baby marmoset. When they got to the private home in Kent, they were surprised to hear a story that was almost exactly the same as TJ's. Harry had been removed from his mother and put in a cage on his own to be sold as an exotic pet. The shop said that he would not get any bigger and that it was fine to keep him on his own in the birdcage. They also said that Harry was friendly and would not bite. That very first night, they let Harry out of his cage and he seemed to have fun running around until he decided to attack his new owners. Even though he was small, Harry was able to deliver several nasty bites to one person and seriously scratched the eye of another individual who had to be taken to hospital. Once again the pet shop had lied about the monkey and it's needs in order to profit. At Monkey World, Harry has settled in brilliantly. As a baby the six other common have accepted him with open arms and they all love play with him. For Harry, he has been saved from a solitary life of misery and is now free to play outside, catch insects, and be part of a large group of common marmosets.

As it turned out the shop that Harry came from was selling the monkey without the appropriate licences so the buyers cancelled their cheque. Please remember you should NEVER buy a monkey or an ape, even if you feel sorry for them – it simply encourages this terrible trade to continue. The best way you can help is take down all the details and contact Monkey World as soon as possible.

Monkey World Keepers Working Overseas

It is not uncommon for Monkey World to send our keepers to work with similar organisations in other countries. To date Monkey World keepers have worked in Holland, France, Russia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Taiwan, and Thailand. To follow are articles about two such journeys and what our keepers got up to.

Cercopan Rescue Centre, Nigeria by Emma Lintern

Ever since I can remember my dream was to go to Africa and finally with Jim and Alison's help it was going to happen – I couldn't wait. On November 2nd the big day finally arrived and I was off on my adventure. My destination was a project in Calabar, Nigeria called Cercopan. It is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to primate rehabilitation, primate reintroduction, rainforest conservation and environmental education. Cercopan is home to 81 primates of 6 different species, all of which are donated to the centre, most victims of the increasing bush meat trade.

I arrived at Lagos airport and traveled down to Calabar with Zena Tooze, the project's Director. During the journey Zena filled me in on Cercopan's history and the animals that they rehabilitated. I had never seen any of the primates she told me about so I was very excited to reach our destination and get started.

During the first week it took some time to get used to life in Nigeria. It was all so different; the roads, the transport, the food and the weather – it was so hot compared to Dorset! My job was to work with the keepers helping to clean and feed all the animals. I also helped in caring for a baby putty nose guenon (Cercopithecus nictitans) called Obon and I also helped repairing cages and going to market.

During my second week with Cercopan, I went up to their rainforest site. Cercopan have an agreement with the local village, Iko Esai, for 4600 hectares of protected forest. Their plans (with the help of Monkey World) are to build large forest enclosures and bring some of the primates from the Centre in Calabar to the rainforest so as they can live as natural a life as possible. The forest experience was great. I took many walks through the forest trying to catch a glimpse of the wild guenons that I could hear around the camp. The monkeys however had different ideas so I had to be happy hearing but not seeing them! I also helped clear a small patch of forest where an education centre is to be built. It was very hard work as the temperature was 38ºC with 81% humidity.

To get back to the centre in Calabar, it was a two-hour trek to the nearest village, where I was honoured to meet the 13 chiefs! All the children we saw kept shouting 'Oyinbo' which means "white man". They were so happy to see us they'd run down to greet us then run away again. Next it was an hour and a half ride by motorbike. The roads were like off road racing tracks, except on our bikes there were three of us with a lady's sidesaddle on the fuel tank to hold on to! Finally, it was another hour and a half in a bus back to the Cercopan centre.

During my final week in Nigeria, I went to a few markets. At one village we visited, we went down the back streets to find bush meat for sale - it was horrible and very upsetting. For about £2.00 we could buy a monkey with no head, hands, feet or tail that had been smoked so that it would keep longer. I considered taking photos to document the bush meat that was for sale but was told that it was not allowed and that I should put my camera away or leave the area. It was sad to the see the queue of people wanting to purchase the meat.

Another one of my duties at the centre was to help Glory, one of the Nigerian keepers's, make 'mimi'. Mimi is an egg and bean based mix that is placed into leaves and then cooked over a fire. It was quite hard wrapping the rich liquid up in a leaf but the monkeys loved it and it was very nutritional for them.

My last trip, before I returned home, was up to Afi Mountain, a rainforest site of Pandrillus, another primate organisation that Monkey World has assisted. While Cercopan rescues many different species of monkey, Pandrillus specialises in rescuing a very endangered species of monkey called a drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus) and also chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). At the Afi Mountain site, Pandrillus has already released 21 chimpanzees and 112 drills into a semi-wild forest enclosure. It was an amazing to see rescued chimpanzees 180 ft. up in trees living like their wild cousins.

My three weeks in West Africa went very quickly and the time I spent with Cercopan was more interesting than I could have imagined. I had a wonderful time and learned a great deal about different species of primate, the threats they face in the wild, and I was able to help care for some of the refugees of the bush meat trade.

Pingtung Rescue Centre for Endangered Wild Animals by Jeremy Keeling

On my last visit to Taiwan I had discussed with Pingtung's lead keeper, Chantz, about the possibility of me returning to Taiwan to undertake various welding jobs to make the lives of the keepers both safer and easier. When I told Jim and Alison about this idea they set about making it all happen. Accompanied with a bag of tools, some materials, 20 galvanised water bowls, and a toothbrush, off I went to do my bit for the Pingtung Rescue Centre in Southern Taiwan.

The first job I undertook was to free and renovate a sliding door on one of the tiger enclosures. This door had been left unused in the open position for some years and needed excavating, freeing, lubricating, the handle welded, and a locking mechanism fabricated. That was my fist day gone!

One of the top priorities was to create a longer quarantine home for a female orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) who had arrived at the centre not long before. When new individuals arrive at the centre it is critical that they are kept separate for quarantine until the veterinarians are able to run all the tests and get all the results to ensure that the new monkey or ape is healthy. Monkey World veterinarian, Dr John Lewis has assisted the centre in setting up their quarantine protocol and I hoped that we could create a new, larger and more interesting, environment for the short time that the new orangutan would be kept isolated. The quickest most practical option was to weld two large stainless steel cages together in a manner that would fit in the quarantine building. Second job done and Mae the orangutan appeared happy with the results!

Then it was time to tackle the main aim of my visit - to make certain areas safer for the keepers where adult male orangutans and tigers could reach through the cage and potentially grab unsuspecting keepers, vets, or visitors. After, some sliding doors and catches needed to be upgraded to make them more secure and safe. This task occupied the majority of my stay.

I have now visited the Pingtung Rescue Centre on several occasions and each visit I am more and more impressed with the improvements that have been made at the centre. Pingtung Rescue Centre now has some of the best environments for captive gibbons and orangutans of anywhere in the world. I wish that I could have spent more time in Taiwan as the keepers and I accomplished so much in a short time. And as always their hospitality was unparalleled.

Letter From the Editor

Over the past winter we have been very busy bringing in new monkeys and apes as well as ensuring that all the primates currently at the centre are given the best quality of life possible. As spring is here we are beginning to expand and redecorate many of the climbing frames in both the monkey and ape enclosures. Our remaining, elderly barbary macaques appeared a bit lost in their old enclosure so they have been moved down to the Macaque Rehabilitation Centre to live out their remaining days with three elderly stump-tailed macaques. This building has been a tremendous success and was instrumental in rehabilitating the 17 stump-tails that were rescued from a UK laboratory. We have just heard that the Macaque Rehabilitation Centre is the winner of the 2002 Animal Welfare Award from the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare!

Many thanks are in order for those who assisted with our monkey and ape rescues over the past couple of months. Depana first alerted us to Alberto and asked if we would be able to give him a home. And to make it all happen, a very special thank you goes to Josep Ballus of the Generalitat and Maria Teressa Abello of Barcelona Zoo for organising all of the papers and cargo arrangements in Spain. Josep and Maria Teressa have helped get 29 chimps to Monkey World and we are extremely grateful for their assistance. The zoo veterinarian, Jesus Fernandez, went out of his way to visit Alberto a couple of times and when it came time for the move it went like clockwork.

Many of our supporters have also been a great help over the winter months. We have received many generous donations including fruit, vegetables, bread, nuts, baby milk, vitamins, toys, blankets, and hessian sacks. Several individuals have collected money in donation boxes while others have been very creative in their fund raising ideas. We have received donations instead of Christmas cards, birthday presents, or wedding anniversary presents, from stop-smoking groups, from the sale of peacock feathers, from sponsored walks and biscuit sales, and from Christmas raffles. In particular we would like to thank James Stevenson who organised a sponsored bike ride to Italy, Ruth Turnnidge who collected donations from sales of her paintings, Tasha Gibson who organised a cake sale, sweet challenge, and quiz to raise money to rescue more monkeys and apes, Neil Kermode and Debbie Mansfield who helped update our education signs, redecorate a marmoset enclosures, and put together fire-hose hammocks, Ryvita, Poole who donated a large batch of rice cakes (our guys love them), The Square Pie, London who donates a percentage of their sales to Gordon, Joanne Ollier of MBNA who organised a community challenge, Riskstop Ltd who had a dress down day, The Royal Marines, Poole who donated cargo nets and rope, The Duke of Wellington's Regiment, Sheffield who donated fire hoses, and British American Tobacco and The Fellowship of Animal Lovers who gave generous donations. Over the past few months we have been saddened to learn of the loss of supporters such as Linda Flemming, Joan Taylor, Nellie Simpson, Joy Arnold, Lucy Hogan, AML Smith, Mary Parsons, Zoe Palmer, and Denise Upton. Our very best wishes are with their family and friends.

All of your help is greatly appreciated and we could not continue rescuing more of our closest living relatives without your assistance. I probably should not tempt fate by making any announcements, however, we are all so happy here that I cannot stop myself. After a year of finger tapping and waiting patiently we are pleased to let you know that RoRo and Tuan are expecting!! It is RoRo's first baby so there are still some tense times to come, no doubt, but we have passed the first trimester and are expecting the new arrival at the end of August or the beginning of September. Fingers crossed!