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Monkey World News

At last, Trudy can play again

The Daily Telegraph


Passengers arriving at the small Dorset railway station of Wool do not need to state their destination to waiting taxi drivers, because everybody seems to be heading the same way. Two miles down the road. Monkey World is reminiscent of Cup Final day at Wembley, with acres of parked cars glittering in t sunshine and the administration queue lengthening by the minute.

The major attraction is Trudy, a small chimpanzee whose maltreatment at hands of the circus trainer Mary Chipperfield became a cause celebre earlier this year. Unaware that her convalescence is a matter for national rejoicing, Trudy is behaving like any unselfconscious three year old - tumbling about, pausing to scratch her nose (or worse), stealing tit-bits, and generally getting under the feet of her elders and betters.

When she hitches a lift on the back of her adoptive brother Arfur, it isn't some practised crowd-pleasing gesture but a demonstration of playful affection that would have been unthinkable a year ago. Until she was removed from her owners last April, most of Trudy's short life had been spent in isolation. She had been beaten with a riding crop, forced into a dog's traveling box at night and kept in a cold barn.

By the time she was confiscated by police and transferred to Jim and Alison Cronin's sanctuary in near Wareham, Trudy had forgotten how to be a chimp and was frightened of her fellow primates. Now she is a fully integrated member of a group of 12 chimpanzees and, as the baby of troop, taking full advantage of the adults' tolerance.

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