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.Rescue & Rehabilitation
How the Relationship Began
Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre has been in contact in with the Pingtung Rescue Centre for Endangered Wild Animals (PRCEWA) since 1995. The two centres have a great deal in common as both have been striving to rescue and rehabilitate animals that have been smuggled from the wild and both have been assisting foreign governments to stop the illegal trade in wildlife. A working partnership between Monkey World and the Pingtung Rescue Centre began in 1999. Together, the two centres have been working on a project with three main goals:
In March 2000, we began our cooperative project by sending our veterinarian, Dr John Lewis, to Pingtung to work with the veterinarians at their centre. Dr Lewis is a specialist veterinarian that only works with exotic species. He is recognised as a leading expert in his field and was there to exchange information, offer specialist training, and assist with veterinary screening of all animals at the Pingtung Rescue Centre. During the year 2000, Monkey World sent Dr Lewis to work at the centre on four separate occasions totalling 37 days.
In preparation to transfer eight gibbons from Pingtung Rescue Centre to Monkey World, a new house was designed for the gibbons. It was specially designed in order to continue the rehabilitation process that had begun at the Pingtung Rescue Centre (see diagram and photo below). The house provided the animals with everything they would need for physical and social development.
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre at Monkey World
In July 2000, arrangements were made for the first transfer of gibbons and orangutans from Pingtung Rescue Centre to Monkey World. On this occasion British Airways paid for the cargo costs of transporting the animals. This first shipment included:
In February 2001, Jim and Alison Cronin and Dr Kurtis Pei from Pingtung Rescue Centre for Endangered Wild Animals travelled to Vietnam to see how common the trade in wild caught gibbons and other primates was. Last year the two centres joined forces to rescue and rehabilitate Asian apes and it was not long before they realised that illegal, wild caught primates were flooding out of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. In particular they were interested in tracking golden-cheeked gibbons (Hylobates gabriellae) in order to find out if the smuggling routes were well organised or if the trade was simply an infrequent operation.
The team first travelled to Hanoi in the North where they visited Cuc Phuong Endangered Primate Rescue Centre (EPRC). This centre takes in gibbons, langurs, and loris and has done so for many years. The Director of EPRC explained that they had been receiving primates over the past year and that this was probably because the wild primates are declining in numbers and they are more difficult to hunt and trap in the wild. The EPRC team follow up on reports of endangered primates that they hear about and work with the Vietnamese Authorities to confiscate illegally held primates.
From Hanoi the team headed for Saigon where, posing as potential buyers, they hoped to find primates in the animal markets. On the first day of searching the traditional medicine stalls and meat markets they found ivory, tiger paws, bear bile and claws, stuffed wild cats and binturongs, and wild animal meat openly for sale. In the live animal markets were thousands of snakes and birds but you had to look a bit closer to see live wild cats, large birds of prey, martins, civets, and flying-squirrels. There were also hundreds of pygmy loris openly for sale, for US$10, in many shops and on street corners. With a bit of searching the Cronins and Dr Pei found a market with primates. Small macaques in tiny cages were for sale for US$30 and in the back of one of the stalls the team spotted a very young golden-cheeked gibbon that was for sale for US$250. The team were told that another gibbon could be found for them to buy in as short as one week. This showed that the smuggling of endangered primates is an active trade in Vietnam. At another market shop, the team found three gibbons for sale for US$250. Amazingly, another primate was for sale, a black-shanked douc langur (Pygathrix nigripes). This species is extremely rare and endangered. This animal was for sale for US$300.
A full report was sent to EPRC and hopefully they were able to remove these endangered species from the markets with the assistance of the Vietnamese Authorities.
Keeper Exchange Programme
In March 2001 a keeper from Monkey World was sent to work at Pingtung for another 10 days. On this occasion the keepers “redecorated” and modified many cages and enclosures.
In preparation for the next shipment of primates from the Pingtung Rescue Centre to Monkey World, Dr. John Lewis was sent to work with the veterinarians in Pingtung for another 7 days. During this time the veterinarians continued health screening many of the animals at the centre and Dr. Lewis also advised on dental surgery techniques for large carnivores such as bears and tigers.
During July 2001 arrangements were made for the second shipment of primates from Pingtung Rescue Centre to Monkey World. On this occasion two female orangutans and three gibbons would be sent from Taiwan to England. Hsiao-quai and Lucky were young females that had been smuggled into Taiwan illegally and were found at an amusement arcade in Kaoshiung. The three gibbons were a young male golden-cheeked, a young female lar, and an adult female agile gibbon. EVA Airlines sponsored this cargo shipment. Once at Monkey World, the orangutans were introduced to three others at the park and the gibbons began their introductions to mates or foster parents.
Hsiao-quai and Lucky at Monkey World
Asian Sanctuary Support
In October 2001 Monkey World sent one keeper to Highland Farm Gibbon Sanctuary (HFGS) in Northeast Thailand. This visit was for only one week in order to assess the scale of the trade in gibbons in Thailand and to work with the keepers and animals at the centre. At the centre there were 36 gibbons of four different species; lar gibbons, pileated gibbons, golden-cheeked gibbons and white-cheeked gibbons. The farm covers nearly 40 acres and aims to rescue and rehabilitate gibbons of any species. During this visit, Monkey World provided veterinary supplies and advice on how to manage rescued gibbons.
In order for Monkey World to accept more orangutans that had been confiscated by the Taiwanese Authorities, a new animal house had to be built. It required a special design as it would house a large male orangutan and several females that were unfamiliar to each other. The new building contained three separate bedrooms and a service kitchen that in total measured 10 x 8.5 x 4m. This new building was connected to an existing gymnasium style playroom through a mesh tunnel. The large playroom required significant modifications in order to make it safe to house orangutans. The playroom measures 15 x8 x 5.5m. The whole building complex is attached to a two-acre outdoor enclosure where a substantial, 10 metre high climbing frame was constructed.
Purpose built bedrooms for an adult male orangutan
Prior to the transportation of the two orangutans, Dr. John Lewis was sent to Pingtung Rescue Centre for 6 days. During this time further medical examinations and treatments were completed on a variety of wild animals including bears, tigers, macaques, orangutans and gibbons. Then in September, John Lewis returned to PRCEWA to follow-up with second health checks on the gibbons and orangutans. During this visit the Monkey World veterinarian stayed at PRCEWA for seven days.
In January 2002 a third shipment of orangutans was sent from Pingtung Rescue Centre to Monkey World. One was an adult male named Tuan that had been captured in Taichung after being loose for three days in 2000. The other was an adolescent female named Hsiao-lan that had been removed from an amusement park in Kaoshiung. EVA Airways sponsored the transportation of the animals and were very helpful throughout the long journey. The plane was a 747 split passenger/cargo plane so Money World and Pingtung staff could visit Tuan and Hsiao-lan throughout the flight. Once at Monkey World, Tuan and Hsiao-lan were introduced to the five other orangutans at the park. They all get along well together and live in a 2-acre enclosure with the large playroom and individual bedrooms.
Tuan, the adult male orangutan
Keeper Exchange Programme
The curator and one of the keepers of the Pingtung Rescue Centre accompanied the orangutans to Monkey World. They stayed for one week and were able to work with the Monkey World staff as well as visit other zoological parks in Britain. During August, Monkey World’s Operations Manager, Jeremy Keeling worked for two weeks at PRCEWA. During this time the keepers worked together to make further improvements to orangutan and tiger cages. Jeremy helped by carrying out some major welding repairs and by training some of the Taiwanese staff on basic welding techniques. Finally in October, a keeper from PRCEWA worked at Monkey World for one week.
During July and August the Directors of Monkey World and Pingtung Rescue Centre travelled to Vietnam and Thailand to try and track down primate smugglers. The trip was a great success, but very sad, as the team found many endangered primates for sale illegally. This is part of an ongoing investigation.
Asian Sanctuary Support
In January 2002 a second Monkey World keeper was sent to Highland Farm Gibbon Sanctuary in Thailand for one month. During this visit, Monkey World provided the funding and technical support to construct a new enclosure and carry out renovations on existing enclosures. Further veterinary and keeping supplies were also donated. Sadly in May, HFGS came under attack and one of the founders, as well as many staff, were killed. Since this time, Monkey World has been providing HFGS with $500 per month to cover staff expenses and in July the Directors of Monkey World met with the remaining owner/co-founder of the sanctuary to discuss the centre’s future.
The move went well and now all eight gibbons have been put together with others of their own kind and the female orangutan is now living with many others.
Keeper Exchange Programme
As part of the cooperative programme, Pingtung and Monkey World began a keeper exchange programme. This training scheme was developed so that animal keepers in England and Taiwan could learn from each other. The first exchange occurred when the animals were sent from Taiwan to England. On this occasion, one keeper and one veterinarian from the Pingtung rescue centre worked at Monkey World for one week. Then in November 2000 the first Monkey World keeper was sent to Pingtung. He worked with the Pingtung keeping staff for 10 days, exchanging ideas and methods of hygiene, animal welfare, environmental enrichment, and cage design. The staff exchanges have proved to be very useful, successful, and morale enhancing.
To date the project has been successful in all three goals and both centres are continuing their invaluable and unprecedented conservation work. A summary of the achievements of this joint project, year by year, is detailed below.