MONKEY World has marked its milestone 30th anniversary with a family picnic event.
This gathering, which was open to all and included a host of extra games and activities, took place at the primate sanctuary, near Wool, yesterday afternoon.
The aim of the day, which included a 30th anniversary trail and 30 year goodie bags, was to celebrate three decades of saving primates from abuse, and to raise cash for the centre’s continued work around the globe.
Monkey World was established in 1987 by Jim Cronin, who operated the park with his wife Dr Alison Cronin. Since Jim’s death in 2007, Alison has run the park alongside a dedicated team.
“Our purpose is to assist governments around the globe and stop smuggling of primates,” explained Dr Cronin. “The only way that can be done is to set ourselves up financially independently because there are no government grants for the type of work we do.
“Monkey World does have to pay to support itself and that’s why Jim chose this location 30 years ago. There weren’t other zoos or wildlife parks around here and it was a tourist area so we would be able to open our gates and allow people to come in and pay for the rescue work.”
Dr Cronin said many locals were unsure what to make of Jim, whose plan to set up a rescue centre for monkeys was “considered rather eccentric.”
“He really did start this place on a wing and a prayer,” she added. “He needed people’s support.”
Achievements to date include ending use of chimpanzees for beach photography in Spain, and uncovering one of the biggest ever primate smuggling rings in Thailand.
Last year a petition of more than 140,000 signatures was taken to Westminster by Monkey World, calling for the standards of care a monkey receives in the pet trade to be the same as in a zoo or wildlife park.
This year is also the 10th anniversary of Jim Cronin’s death and marks 20 years of Monkey World being on TV, firstly through Monkey Business and then Monkey Life.
Our Echoes nostalgia section on Wednesday, August 16, will feature photos and memories of Monkey World, including an interview with Alison Cronin.
[Reproduced with permission fom Bournemouth Echo. For full article please see : www.bournemouthecho.co.uk ]