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Monkey World News

A hairy tale of a lasting love at Purbeck monkey sanctuary

Saturday 12 June, 2010

THE title Jeremy and Amy may sound like a slushy Mills and Boon offering.

But the new book chronicles a very different type of love story.

Monkey World co-founder Jeremy Keeling, 53, has committed his story – and that of the world-famous animal sanctuary – to print for the first time.

Amy is Jeremy’s orang-utan “other half” and has been with him since she was a baby.

She still resides at the Wool conservation centre and the pair’s extraordinary relationship forms the cornerstone of the book.

“Orang-utans have always been my favourite and I hand-reared Amy from birth,” he said.

“People always said I should write a book about it and I thought I had no need to, but then I just thought ‘why not?’”

Jeremy and Amy have shared some improbable experiences, not least when the pair were involved in a car crash in Kent in 1984.

Amy was in the front seat of the car and when police began to pick through the wreckage, they were stunned to discover a hairy hand holding Jeremy’s head.

“I was in a coma for three days but Amy might have saved my life,” said Jeremy.

Aside from Amy, Jeremy’s relationship with late Monkey World founder Jim Cronin also features heavily in the book.

“I was the first person to take Jim seriously when he first came up with the Monkey World idea,” said Jeremy.

“We struck up an instant friendship and I was with him when he died in 2007.”

The Monkey World story is also central to the book.

It recounts the park’s humble beginnings and traces the success story through to the present day, where it receives almost a million visitors a year. Jeremy and Amy: The Extraordinary Story of One Man and his Orang-utan is available from Short Books from July 1.

A book signing will take place at Monkey World from 10am to noon on July 3.

SO CLOSE: Jeremy Keeling and Amy the orang-utan

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