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Monkey World News

British sanctuary saves dozens of Capuchin monkeys from Chilean lab

Times Online

A British primate sanctuary has rescued 88 monkeys from a South American laboratory in the largest operation of its kind in the world. The capuchin monkeys were liberated from solitary cages in Santiago, Chile, and flown to their new homes in Monkey World, Wareham, Dorset, yesterday. Some of the monkeys, aged between two and 30, have spent 20 years confined in the cages, only taken out for medical experiments, without ever seeing daylight. They will now be rehabilitated before being settled into social groups at the sanctuary’s Capuchin Lodge. Related Links * Plague alert after monkey dies * Chimps knocked off top of the IQ tree * Monkeys find tools can make life easier The laboratory asked for Monkey World’s help and Dr Alison Cronin and her late husband Jim, who died from cancer last year, had been planning the rescue for more than a year. They initially intended to take them in smaller groups but pressure mounted after staff at the lab received death threats from animal rights protesters. Dr Cronin, who is director of Monkey World, said: “This is the largest rescue Monkey World has ever undertaken in its history and the largest rescue of primates in the world ever. “They have been confined in small laboratory cages and they are coming to us with lots of psychological and potentially medical problems.” She added: “The first day we walked into the laboratory we were met with shrieks and screams. Within an hour or so they settled down. They realised we posed no threat to them.” It took two days to transport the 88 capuchins in individual cages with windows, with help from the Chilean Air Force. The Chilean military Hercules transporter arrived at Bournemouth Airport yesterday evening after getting special permission from the UK Government. Monkey World has already rescued more than 50 monkeys and apes from five different laboratories. Today, for the first time in their lives, the monkeys will taste freedom when they move into their new homes, begin meeting each other and living more natural lives. Capuchins live in groups of around 35 in the wild in Central and South America and have a life expectancy of more than 30 years.

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