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Monkey World News

Maltreated chimp finds happiness in adopted tribe

The Daily Telegraph


TRUDY the chimpanzee whose treatment by the circus trainer Mary Chipperfield outraged the nation, has made a remarkable recovery. Trudy, who has been nursed back to health by Alison Cronin at Monkey World in Wool, Dorset has fully integrated into a family of 12 chimpanzees at the sanctuary. In January, Chipperfield, who has no connection with Chipperfield's Circus, was found guilty of 12 charges of cruelty towards a chimpanzee for treatment that included beating three year old Trudy with a riding crop, forcing her into a dog's traveling box at night and keeping her in a cold barn. She was fined 7,500. Mrs Cronin's husband, Jim, director of the Monkey World sanctuary, said that although he was delighted with Trudy's progress he had reservations about the power of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act of 1976 to protect the welfare of privately owned chimpanzees and monkeys. "We're still finding primates living in hovels and garden sheds. The public are in danger if they come into contact with these animals," he said. "We believe that hundreds of primates living in private ownership aren't being inspected properly." Mr Cronin expressed doubt that the local authorities charged with checking on the welfare of exotic animals were able to do their job efficiently. "Councils are calling us because they don't know how to inspect these animals or how to deal with them," he said. "In 12 years of dealing with nine different governments we are finding the worst cases of abuse and suffering in Britain." In one case Mr Cronin, who called on the Environment Minister , Michael Meacher, to launch a Government review, said that he discovered a capuchin monkey which had lived in a shed for 35 years. Mr Cronin said "He was living among his own excrement without water and regular food. He looked like something from outer space." He added " We found another monkey living in an attic with broken glass and rat droppings and he had been inspected every year for 16 years."

The Wild Animals Act demands that a licence to keep a wild animal will not be granted unless the premises are inspected by a veterinary surgeon and deemed fit for habitation. Mr Cronin said that it was important that vets with experience of exotic animals were asked to carry out the tasks. "Many local vets do not have experience beyond domestic animals," he said. A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said that it was the responsibility of local authorities to enforce the Act.

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