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Carrying on Jim's work

BBC Dorset

The widow of the late Jim Cronin, founder of Dorset's Monkey World has opened a primate conservation centre in Vietnam. Alison Cronin was determined to see the project through which was conceived by the couple seven years ago. It's the first time the Dorset based ape rescue centre has undertaken a conservation project "in-situ" and the creation of the Dao Tien Endangered Species Centre is the result. It has been set up at the entrance to the Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, an area where golden-cheeked gibbons live in the wild. The centre covers 57 hectares of an island on the Dong Nai River. It has taken nine months to build 10 rehabilitation cages. The next stage will be to create a semi-wild enclosure where the animals will go before release, so they adjust to life on their own. Director Dr Alison Cronin said, "This is Monkey World's first in-situ conservation project where we have a chance to keep apes and monkeys where they belong - in the forests of Southern Vietnam." The aim of the centre is to rescue and rehabilitate endangered primates and when if possible release pairs of gibbons back into the forests of the Cat Tien National Park. The first inhabitants are six gibbons that were rescued from a motorway rest stop and a school. They've been given health checks and are starting to recover. In the future, the centre hopes to take in monkeys such as black-shanked douc langurs, silvery langurs and nocturnal primates called loris. Jim Cronin came up with the idea of building the centre seven years ago. He and Alison set up the Endangered Asian Species Trust to fund it. Despite Jim's death in March 2007, Alison was determined to see the project through. Thoughts of him are never far away. A memorial has been set up at the entrance. She said, " This is a project that Jim and I started many years ago. It is truly amazing to see it come together and already make a difference in the lives of six rescued golden-cheeked gibbons. "Jim knew that a few people could make a difference in saving endangered species and this is what the Dao Tien Rescue Centre is all about." Back in Dorset, Alison Cronin continues as the sole director of Monkey World, the ape rescue centre near Wareham. It is home to 165 monkeys and apes and Alison remains committed to rescuing and rehabilitating animals in danger, both at home

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