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.

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Monkey World News

Jim Cronin

Telegraph

Jim Cronin, who died of cancer on Saturday aged 55, had devoted the past 20 years to the sanctuary for apes which he ran in Dorset. The 65-acre site near Wareham, Monkey World, began as an attempt to establish a proper home for what are known as "Spanish beach chimps" - chimpanzees used as props by photographers in Spain. Today Monkey World is home to more than 150 primates of some 15 different species. It also works with foreign governments to halt the illegal smuggling of apes out of Africa and Asia. Cronin and his wife Alison also found themselves confronted with more curious cases, for example the chimpanzee called Carli who was forced to perform in a Turkish television sitcom, in which he would have to smoke a cigar or sit "reading" a newspaper while perched on a lavatory. The Cronins persuaded his owner to retire him to Monkey World. Another chimp who found a new life in Dorset had been the pet of a young girl in Dubai. The animal was provided with a wardrobe full of fashionable clothes and two Filippino nannies. Over the past two decades Monkey World has rescued chimps from Spain, Greece, France, England, Austria, the Netherlands, Israel, Cyprus, Dubai and Taiwan. Some were the victims of laboratory experiments, others were kept as exotic pets or as circus animals. Cronin achieved a certain celebrity as a result of his television programme Monkey Business, which recorded life at Monkey World and documented its rescue missions and undercover investigations throughout Europe and Asia. The show has been screened in many countries. The son of a labour relations officer with the Otis elevator company, James Michael Cronin was born on November 15 1951 in the Yonkers district of New York and educated at St Denis School and Lincoln High School there. His first job was as a removals man, but an accident while he was moving a grand piano left him with his leg in traction and prompted the career change that was to shape his life. He went to work at the Bronx Zoo, where most of his time was spent caring for the primates, but in 1980 he moved to Britain to take up a post at John Aspinall's animal park Howletts; there he established a primate breeding programme. Cronin then bought a plot of land in Dorset - the site of a former pig farm - and in 1987 opened Monkey World, with the primary aim of rescuing and rehabilitating apes that had been held in captivity, particularly the chimps in Spain. He remarked shortly after the opening: "If I had put as much energy into a commercial venture as I have into this, I would have been a pretty rich man." Monkey World soon became one of the fastest-growing tourist attractions in the south of England. Meanwhile Cronin campaigned vigorously against the illegal trade in primates, even lobbying the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. An "Adopt A Chimp" scheme was launched to help fund the rescues. In 1993 he met his second wife, Alison, a Cambridge graduate and primate specialist who was also American; after they married she joined him in his work at Monkey World in the role of scientific director. Jim Cronin was appointed MBE in 2006. Diagnosed with liver cancer only eight weeks ago, he decided to seek treatment at a specialist hospital in New York, where he underwent a month-long course of intensive chemotherapy. Alison Cronin survives him with a daughter by his first wife, Ros.

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