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Monkey World News

MONKEY BUSINESS STAR DIES

Daily Express

TRIBUTES to Jim Cronin, star of ITV wildlife show Monkey Business, were pouring in from around the world yesterday. Mr Cronin, 55, founder of the Monkey World ape ­rescue centre, died on Saturday, eight weeks after being diagnosed with liver cancer. His wife, Dr Alison Cronin, 20-year-old daughter Eleanor and close friend and Monkey World colleague Jeremy Keeling were at his bedside at a medical centre in his native New York. American Mr Cronin was one of the world’s leading animal conservationists, travelling the globe with his wife to rescue ill-treated primates and return them to the sanctuary. Their hit fly-on-the wall TV series Monkey Business was shown in more than 230 countries and Jim won an MBE in 2006. The son of New York Irish-Italian parents, Cronin started work as a removals man. But after an accident with a grand piano he took a job in the Bronx Zoo, mainly looking after the primates. He moved to Britain in 1980 to work at Howletts Zoo in Kent and set up a primate breeding programme. In 1985 he spelt out his vision for a monkey conservation wildlife park and sold his house and invested everything he had in the venture, alongside businessman Steve Matthews. Two years later Monkey World opened. Many of the first inmates were chimpanzees rescued from photographers in Spain, who used them as tourist props. In 1993 Cronin met fellow American Alison, a primate specialist who went on to become his second wife. The pair won worldwide fame in 1999 after rescuing Trudy, a three-year-old chimpanzee. She had been whipped by circus trainer Mary Chipperfield, who was fined for cruelty. Mr Cronin said recently: “If I had put as much energy into a commercial venture as I have into this, I would have been a pretty rich man.” Dr Cronin will return to the sanctuary at Wool, Dorset, later this week with her husband’s ashes, which are expected to be interred there. Jez Hermer, spokesman for Monkey World, said tributes had been flooding in from around the world. He added “Monkey World will carry on with Alison at the forefront. “We will make sure it is Jim’s lasting legacy.”

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