Monkey World

Rescue & Rehabilitation

Set amongst the woodland of Dorset lays 65 acres of sanctuary for over 250 primates. Monkey World was set up in 1987 by Jim Cronin to provide abused Spanish beach chimps with a permanent, stable home. Today Monkey World works in conjunction with foreign governments from all over the world to stop the illegal smuggling of apes out of Africa and Asia. At the park visitors can see over 250 primates of more than 20 different species.

At Monkey World

There are currently 54 chimpanzees at Monkey World, in four different social groups. Monkey World has rescued chimpanzees from Spain, Greece, France, England, Austria, The Netherlands, Israel, Cyprus, Dubai, Mexico, Turkey, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon where they were being used and/or abused in laboratories, as exotic pets, as photographer’s props, or as circus animals. Their exact histories vary, but the majority of them share part of the same story. Born in Africa, chimpanzees are taken from their family groups as youngsters. Poaching expeditions for bush meat and the capture of young animals results in the slaughter of adults as they try and defend their babies and extended family. It is estimated that the removal of one infant will result in the death of up to ten other chimpanzees. The young animals are smuggled out of Africa and then sold illegally abroad.

Spanish Beach Chimps

In the case of Spanish beach chimps, they are dressed up in human clothes and worked in tourist resorts, often for 16 hours per day as a photographer’s prop. When the chimpanzees reach 4 or 5 years of age they become uncontrollable and are usually killed in order to be replaced with a new baby chimp. Some photographers will try and control their chimps by beating them and pulling their teeth out and/or putting them on drugs. Monkey World, in co-operation with Spanish authorities, confiscates all known beach chimpanzees. New arrivals are given a full medical check and such examinations often reveal serious injuries such as machete wounds and broken bones. Many of the chimps come to us addicted to drugs. Recovery and rehabilitation is a lengthy process with many of the animals suffering from malnutrition and anaemia.


At Monkey World we rehabilitate the chimpanzees into large social groups but we keep the females on birth control. There are still many chimpanzees that need rescuing and, for this reason, we do not allow our animals to breed in order that we have the space and funding to rescue others. At present there are 4 groups of chimpanzees at the park; three mixed-sex groups and one all male group.

Monkey World is also working in Asia with the Pingtung Rescue Centre for Endangered Wild Animals to try to stop the smuggling of gibbons and orang-utans from the wild. We are also conducting undercover surveys of the illegal pet trade in South East Asia.

On site there is a hospital and operating theatre where most of the medical examination and operations on the apes and monkeys are performed. While we have a local vet and a specialist primate vet, the staff at Monkey World are recognised as experts in primate rehabilitation and health. We also bring in specialists as needed such as paediatricians, dentists, ear, nose and throat surgeons, ophthalmic specialists, and gynaecologists.

As seen on TV

Monkey World has featured in many television programmes including:

  • Pick, Channel 5 and Animal Planet – the ‘Monkey Life‘ series continues on from ‘Monkey Business’ and is in continual production at the park.
  • ITV – Nature Watch;
  • BBC – Operation Chimpanzee;
  • BBC – State of the Ark which highlighted our rescue and rehabilitation work;
  • BBC – Animal Hospital;
  • CNN & Sky TV – Highlighting a rescue operation in Turkey of smuggled chimpanzees;
  • ITV – GMTV covering the illegal pet trade in Turkey.
  • BBC – QED Saving Trudy.
  • Granada and Discovery Channels – 9 series of ‘Monkey Business’ were produced, documenting Monkey World’s rescue and rehabilitation work.
  • BBC- The One Show following the rescue of marmoset Sid Vicious from the legal UK pet trade.

Our costs of providing quality and continuing care are high. We operate an adoption scheme to assist in our fund raising, which includes an annual entry pass to the park. Our work can only continue with the assistance of our supporters and visitors.