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Monkey World News

Monkey World founder Jim Cronin died three years ago

8:20am Wednesday 17th March 2010

By Andy Martin, Daily Echo
 

“I WISH he could have been there.” Today, Monkey World Dr Alison Cronin is in Vietnam releasing two gibbons onto a 40-acre island sanctuary.
If all goes well, this will be the half-way house to their eventual and complete return to the wild of the rainforest.
 
‘One of the greatest sadnesses is that Jim is not here to share it’

Dr Alison Cronin

The project has been seven years in the making and there could not be a more appropriate or poignant day for the release to take place.
It was Alison’s husband, Monkey World founder Jim Cronin, who started the Vietnam initiative. And today is the third anniversary of his death.

“My trips to Vietnam are always emotional,” Alison said, before she flew to south-east Asia on Sunday, “and this one will be especially so.
"I’m not a great believer in the afterlife and things like that, but I’d like to think he knows what’s going on and can see what we’re doing.”

Jim died of liver cancer in 2007, exactly 20 years after he set up the primate sanctuary in the depths of the Dorset countryside. But his legacy lives on, stronger than ever, with nearly 100 new refugees having been brought to Monkey World in the past three years alone.

“If you ever needed a grounding in reality, this is one of the very best places to be,” Alison told the Daily Echo in a specially recorded video interview.
“All of our primates, particularly the rescued ones, need all our dedication and we have lots of little mouths to feed, so daily life here is very hectic and very focused.
"To some extent that takes attention away from our grief at Jim’s passing, but one of the greatest sadnesses – and it will be that way for the rest of my life – is that Jim is not here to share it with us.

“When it comes to the big decisions, and there are many of them, I wish he was here to talk to.” 

She talks emotionally of “the fragile state of her mind and heart,” but also with determination about the growing demands being made on Monkey World to help animals in distress and meeting that challenge.

“If you get a request, how do you turn it down?
“Sadly for the state of primates around the world, the calls just seem to be getting more frequent. “A lot of our primate relatives don’t stand a chance because for most people they are simply not a priority.”

Since Jim’s death, Alison has immersed herself totally into running Monkey World with a dedicated team rescuing more and more apes and trying to ensure the sanctuary has the financial resources to meet all the pressures on it.
Though it was always her shared passion with her husband, now it is all-consuming.

“I still haven’t found a way to enjoy myself without Jim, but hopefully that day will come,” she says.

 

Dr Alison Cronin

 

STRONG PARTNERSHIP: Jim and Alison at the park

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