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Monkey World News

Ape expert adds her tribute to Jim Cronin

Daily Echo Online

WORLD-famous primate expert Dr Jane Goodall DBE has added her tribute to the many which have flooded in since the death of Monkey World founder Jim Cronin. Dr Goodall is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and other primates in their natural habitats. In 1999 she campaigned alongside Jim and David Attenborough in the case of Mary Chipperfield, an animal trainer convicted of cruelty to a baby chimpanzee, Trudy. When Trudy was taken in at Monkey World and rehabilitated Dr Goodall was one of those assessing her progress. Yesterday she said: "Jim Cronin devoted so much of his life to helping primates. His passion and absolute commitment will be deeply missed. My sympathy goes out to his wife and family at this sad time." Well over 200 people have now paid homage to Jim on the Daily Echo website, and staff at Monkey World say the phone has been ringing constantly. One member of the team said: "We have had an awful lot of calls from people calling in with messages of condolence, and floral tributes are beginning to arrive. A lot of tearful people have been ringing it. It really is quite amazing." Jim Cronin opened Monkey World in 1987 and spent the next 20 years criss-crossing the globe rescuing and rehabilitating chimpanzees, orangutans and other primates. He died of liver cancer in New York on Saturday, aged 55. Jim arrived in the UK in 1980 after working as a zookeeper in the states and was taken on at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent where he was a protege of its owner, the millionaire wildlife expert John Aspinall. As head of primates he set up a breeding programme and formed many of the ideas which would later influence his work at Monkey World. Robert Boutwood, director of fundraising projects at the Howletts, said: "Jim was interviewed by John Aspinall, who felt he was just the right person because of his deep passion and love for animals, particularly primates. "He has done such remarkable work saving animals. When he started people didn't realise what a ghastly thing it was to put a baby chimp in your lap for a photo." He added: "This has come as a terrible shock to everyone who knew him here. We have lost another wild animal man, and the world needs as many of those as possible." Jim Vassie, now head of carnivores at the animal park, said: "It was always his passion to open Monkey World, especially when he found that piece of land in Dorset. He was so enthusiastic and wanted to show everyone his plans." He added: "In many ways he was inspired by Mr Aspinall. They had a similar mentality in what they expected from the rescue rehabilitation of animals in dire situations."

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