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

ONE WOMAN'S MISSION TO SAVE THE MONKEYS

Daily Express

LAST WEEK Dr Alison Cronin freed dozens of tortured primates from an appalling ‘prison’, flying them to her Dorset sanctuary. Here she reveals the joy and the anguish of rescuing the world’s mistreated animals. Many had been there for 20 years, incarcerated in 3ft cages, subjected to painful experiments and even robbed of daylight – but for 88 capuchin monkeys, their misery in a Chilean lab is at an end. A few days ago they were liberated and flown 7,200 miles to settle into a new life in vast enclosures, in 65 acres deep in the Dorset countryside. Their new VIP home is the renowned ape sanctuary Monkey World and the woman who has masterminded the year-long operation – the world’s largest ever rescue of primates – is the director of the centre, Dr Alison Cronin. Alison, 40, has dedicated her life to the recovery and rehabilitation of mistreated chimps, monkeys and orangutans, but this case shocked even her. “I’ve been in and out of a load of labs and this was the worst I’ve ever seen. They were using the monkeys for various experiments, such as the testing of pharmaceuticals, and the conditions were shocking. It was appalling.” Monkey World's residents tuck into a box of bananas donated by customs She and her husband Jim had been planning to take in 35 of the capuchins after the lab in Santiago contacted them in 2006, saying they would otherwise be put down. Jim sadly died from cancer last year but Alison resolved to carry on with the vast undertaking and even expanded its objectives. When she discovered the rest of the monkeys were to be destroyed, she decided to rescue them all. “It would have been impossible for us to pick out individuals to save and not others. Our raison d’être is to res­cue as many monkeys as we can, rehabilitate them, then make their lives as interesting as possible.” Not that this is always an easy undertaking. The capu­chin monkeys, ranging in age from two to 30, bear mental and physical scars. In the lab, they screeched in terror when approached by a human. “Some of them have been chronically institutionalised and self-harm,” says Alison. “Others are agoraphobic because they’ve never seen daylight or been outside and coming here is a mind-blowing shock.” Monkey World staff prepared a labyrinth of bedrooms for the arrivals, covered with branches and bedding to resemble the rainforest and leading to a vast playground area. It is a world away from their former existence. “It’s really early days but there has been so much progress already,” says Alison. “Some of the very disturbed ones just sit there and rock back and forth.

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