Rescue Information

Since its opening in 1987, Monkey World has rescued primates from all over the world, assisting 27 governments to date. In many cases, primates have ended up living thousands of miles from their native home range, having been smuggled from the wild. This map shows our experience of where primates are smuggled from in the wild (primate image), and where they are rescued from (triangle).

From their limited distribution, we know chimpanzees are exported from Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea illegally. The baby chimpanzees are then smuggled by boat or plane, across the world. They are mainly used for the illegal pet trade and the entertainment business.

This barbaric trade poses a serious threat to the survival of the wild chimpanzee.

By clicking on the flags, you can see some examples of our investigations and rescues, including our work in Asia.

Rescue Information – Austria


In 1995 Austrian Authorities who had found a lone male chimpanzee roaming through a public park contacted Monkey World. They had named him Freddy. He was clearly cold and upset when a local police officer offered Freddy his hand and put him in the back of his car. Freddy was taken to a dog and cat kennel and then Monkey World was called. At the kennels, the staff did what they could to make Freddy comfortable by giving him an armchair and bedding. Freddy has been one of the most humanised chimpanzees we have rescued and it took him a long time to feel comfortable in a group of his own kind.

Rescue Information – Belgium

Freddie and Toto

Stump-tailed macaques Freddie and Toto were rehomed from a Belgian rescue shelter in 2016. Freddie had come from a zoo when his companion had died, and Toto had originally come from a zoo in Split, Croatia.

The pair joined the stump-tail macaque group at the park.

For 30 years she lived with another stump-tailed macaque male, but when he died she was left alone. The shelter were keen for the elderly macaque to have companionship of her own kind and so contacted Monkey World to see if we could help.

The shelter were unsure of where the two macaques had come from, as they had been at the shelter since it opened, but it likely they had been smuggled from the wild.

Rescue Information – Chile

The largest primate rescue operation in the world was successfully completed in January 2008 when 88 capuchin monkeys were rescued from a medical research laboratory in Santiago, Chile, and moved to Monkey World.
The monkeys had been living – some of them for 20 years – in a laboratory where they were kept in solitary confinement. In the small indoor cages and were subjected to invasive medical tests on a regular basis. Dr Alison Cronin and Mr Jeremy Keeling travelled to Santiago in order to assess the monkeys’ individual behaviour at the lab, and to oversee the preparation and transport to the UK.
The Chilean Air Force flew the 88 monkeys, some of their keepers, and the Monkey World team in a Hercules transporter, and were given special permission by the British Government to land at Bournemouth Airport.
This rescue was a huge undertaking for Monkey World, as we could not predict how traumatised the capuchins were, or if some of them would be too institutionalised to live in a more natural environment with others of their own kind, but we wanted to give every one of the 88 capuchins a chance to live a more enjoyable life.
As soon as the capuchins arrived at the park they were moved into their new specially-designed houses and monkey introductions began straight away. The Primate Care Staff took great care in acclimatising the new arrivals to their new outdoor enclosures and made sure they were filled with ropes, branches and walk-ways, so that the unstable and unfit monkeys were able to develop their coordination.

Rescue Information – Cyprus


In 2000, eight-year-old Lulu arrived at monkey World from Cyprus. She had been born at a circus and was still a baby when her mother attacked her and bit her arm. The wound became seriously infected and a concerned Cypriot family saw the wounded baby chimpanzee and asked if they could help. The circus had no intention of financing any medical treatment and so instead sold the sick infant to the family, who saved her life by arranging for a human doctor to amputate the festering limb.

Although the family cared deeply for Lulu, they soon realised that she was a wild animal with needs they could not meet, and so Monkey World was called to the rescue.

Years later, and Lulu is now a very strong, confident character living in Bryan’s group; previously she assisted Monkey World’s adoptive mum, Sally, to help newcomers begin their rehabilitation. Lulu is so well adapted to life with only one arm that you would not even notice her missing limb unless it was pointed out.

Rescue Information – France

We rescued three adult chimpanzees from a laboratory in France in 1990.

They had been tattooed on the inside of their thighs, numbers 550, 551 and 552.

When they arrived at Monkey World, they could not climb.

Their names are Clin, Grisby and Cathy, and they can now be found in Cindy’s Group.

Rescue Information – Germany


Floh the stump-tailed macaque was rehomed from a dog and cat shelter in Germany in 2014.

For 30 years she lived with another stump-tailed macaque male, but when he died she was left alone. The shelter were keen for the elderly macaque to have companionship of her own kind and so contacted Monkey World to see if we could help.

The shelter were unsure of where the two macaques had come from, as they had been at the shelter since it opened, but it likely they had been smuggled from the wild.

Rescue Information – Greece


Athena and Olympia’s story is similar to so many orphaned chimpanzees we have at the park. The mothers of the two females would have been killed in order to steal the precious babies for the black market trade. They were then smuggled into Greece and sold onto a circus to become performers. The Greek authorities, having realised that the young chimpanzees had been smuggled into Greece illegally, asked Monkey World to help and re-home the two orphans. Jim Cronin travelled to Greece in 1993 to oversee transfer of the young ladies to Monkey World, where they could live happily in social groups with others of their own kind.



Rescue Information – Hong Kong

In 2016 Monkey World assisted the Hong Kong government & Shaldon Wildlife Park in arranging the rescue, quarantine and transportation of five slow loris which had been confiscated from the black market trade.

Three of the loris reside at Monkey World now, while two moved to Shaldon Wildlife Park.

Rescue Information – Israel


In 1996 Monkey World was contacted by the Israeli Government and asked to assist with their efforts to stop young chimpanzees from being smuggled from the wild. Three young male chimps were confiscated in different locations and sent to Monkey World to be rehabilitated into a natural living group.

Another young male named Gypsy who had been born in a zoo, but was no longer wanted, accompanied the three chimps, Tikko, Semach, and Hananya.

Rescue Information – Lebanon

Monkey World has been pleased to work with the Lebanese government, who having only joined  CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species) in 2013 is already enforcing the laws on smuggling & drafting legislation to protect animal welfare. Monkey World has assisted the Lebanese authorities in finding homes for the refugees of the black market trade.


Chimpanzee Kiki was rescued from Lebanon in 2011. She was smuggled from the wild for the illegal pet trade, and from the age of two Kiki lived in a small cage, on her own, on the side of a road outside of Beirut. We estimate that Kiki was around nine years old at the time of rescue, and having lived on her own for so long, she could have been anti-social. However, chimps want and need company of their own kind and her introductions to her adopted family, Hananya’s group, went very well.

Benny and Nia

White-throated guenons, Benny and Nia were confiscated from a passenger plane out of Ghana, at Beirut airport in 2018. Lebanese authorities, along with Animals Lebanon, seized the pair, and we believe they had been smuggled from the wild very recently. The gunenons needed to gain weight after their ordeal, but settled into life at the park very quickly.


Infant Bengal slow loris Nora was rescued from Lebanon in August 2018, after being confiscated from a pet shop. She would have been smuggled from the wild in Asia to the illegal pet trade in Lebanon. The Lebanese government confiscated Nora from a Beirut pet shop, and she was cared for by Animals Lebanon while her move to the park, to be with a group of four adult loris, was arranged. Nora was the first endangered animal to be confiscated under the new Animal Protection and Welfare laws in Lebanon, and her case will be moved to the courts for prosecution.

Rescue Information – Maldives

Kan’Bulo (Bu)

Slow loris Bu was confiscated during a police drugs raid in the Maldives. Although Monkey World didn’t have loris at the time, Alison agreed to take the loris for its quarantine period while a suitable home was found. Loris are not native to the Maldives, so Bu had been smuggled from the wild in Asia. However with no way to find out where Bu had come from, she could not be returned to the wild. Bu now lives with four other Bengal slow loris at the park.

Rescue Information – Mexico

Monkey World has been aware of chimpanzees being used as photographers’ props in tourist resorts in Mexico since 1997. In 2006 Jim & Alison Cronin went to Mexico to rescue Bryan, a 3 year old male chimpanzee who was smuggled from the wild in Africa, through Cuba, and then onto Mexico where he was purchased by a beach photographer. Mexican authorities confiscated Bryan but not before the photographer knocked out all but four of his teeth. Today Bryan is a huge, handsome adult who leads his small family group.

Rescue Information – Netherlands

In 1999 we rescued 4 baby girls from a laboratory in Holland; we named them Eveline, Valerie, Marjoline and Joline.

They arrived at the park on the 12th of February, and were first introduced to the Nursery Group. When they were old enough, all 4 ladies were integrated to Hananya’s Group.

Rescue Information – Russian Federation

Monkey World’s reputation for rescuing and rehabilitating abused or neglected primates spreads across the globe. As a result, two rescued gibbons with turbulent life stories are now in family groups at the park.

Ella, a lar gibbon born around 1985, and Vietta, a golden-cheeked gibbon, probably born during 1993, were both smuggled from the wild to perform in a travelling Vietnamese circus in the Russian Federation. Both gibbons were confiscated in Russia, before being sent to Monkey World by government authorities.

Rescue Information – Saudi Arabia


Tutti is a female chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) who was smuggled from the wild for the illegal pet trade in Saudi Arabia. She arrived at the park on 17/07/02 and we estimate that she was born during 2000. Tutti was confiscated by Saudi Arabian Officials and was cared for by a British veterinarian in Jeddah before she came to the park. She now lives with Hananya’s group.

Rescue Information – Slovenia


Patas Monkey Mica (prounced Meet-za) was smuggled from the wild for the illegal pet trade in SLovenia. She lived with a family for 18 years before her rescue in 2011.


Capuchin Tau was kept as a pet in a basement in Slovenia and was rescued in 2011. He was very thin and had an obviously curved spine as a result of rickets, caused by a lack of the “sunshine vitamin” D3. He also suffered from muscle wastage and mobility problems due to a lack of space for exercise.  Although he was only six years old on arrival he looked and moved like an old man. Tau lived at the park until 2017 when the sad decision was taken to put Tau to sleep. The fused vertebrae in Tau’s spine from his rickets had become inflamed, causing pressure on the nerves and pain which limited use in his legs and lower back. Tau was just 12 when he died. His tragic premature death was a direct result from his years in the pet trade.

Rescue Information – Spain

Since 1987 we have been assisting the Spanish Government to confiscate chimpanzees which are used in coastal resorts for tourist photographs. We have rescued over 30 chimpanzees from Spanish Beach Photographers.

15 years ago it was estimated that there were 200 chimps being used in Spanish coastal resorts; all smuggled from the wild. Today there are none left. A success for Monkey World and the Spanish Authorities.

Rescue Information – South Africa


Oshine was kept as a pet in South Africa, and lived in the house as an infant. As she reached adolscence, she became unmanageable in the house and a new enclosure was created for her. However as her size and strength increased she started asserting herself, often taking apart or escaping from her enclosure to raid the kitchen and collect as many treats and snacks as she could carry. Due to this she became vastly overweight. As Oshine became an adult her frustration became more evident as she became more and more difficult to manage at the farm. It was a hard decision but her owner asked Monkey World if we could give Oshine company of her own kind and care for her for the rest of her long life. She joined the park in 2010 and is now the foster mum in the orangutan nursery.

Rescue Information – Taiwan

Monkey World and the Pingtung Rescue Centre

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:

  • To track primate smuggling routes through SE Asia
  • To rescue and rehabilitate primates that had been smuggled from the wild
  • To establish international captive breeding programmes for endangered species that were already removed from the wild.

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.

March 2000 – Veterinary Support

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

July 2000 – Primate Re-homing

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:

  • One adult female orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus).
  • Three male and one female Mueller’s Gibbons (Hylobates muelleri).
  • One male agile gibbon (Hylobates agilis).
  • One male lar gibbon (Hylobates lar).
  • Two female golden-cheeked gibbons (Hylobates gabriellae).

The move went well and now all of the primates were integrated into groups with their own kind.

February 2001 – Smuggling Investigations

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. In the previous 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 Ho Chi Minh City 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 a time 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); an extremely rare and endangered species. 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.

March 2001 – Keeper Exchange Programme

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.

Veterinary Support

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.

July 2001 – Primate Re-homing

Arrangements were made for the second shipment of primates from Pingtung Rescue Centre to Monkey World. On this occasion two female orang-utans 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 orang-utans 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

October 2001 – Asian Sanctuary Support

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 orang-utans 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 orang-utan 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 orang-utans. 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

Veterinary Support

Prior to the transportation of the two orang-utans, 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, orang-utans and gibbons. Then in September, John Lewis returned to PRCEWA to follow-up with second health checks on the gibbons and orang-utans. During this visit the Monkey World veterinarian stayed at PRCEWA for seven days.

January 2002 – Primate Re-homing

A third shipment of orang-utans 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 orang-utans 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 orang-utans 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 Animal Director, Jeremy Keeling worked for two weeks at PRCEWA. During this time the keepers worked together to make further improvements to orang-utan 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.

Smuggling Investigations

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 formed part of an ongoing investigation.

January 2002 – Asian Sanctuary Support

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. During this time, Monkey World provided 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.

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.

Rescue Information – Thailand

In 2018, Monkey World rescued Naree, a female chimpanzee who had been living alone in a government animal centre in Thailand. Jim & Alison Cronin had first found her working in a Thai circus in 2003. Naree’s teeth had been knocked out, and probably as a result of the trauma, her sinuses had a bony overgrowth, leaving her with facial deformities. She only has a few molars in the back of her mouth. She would have been smuggled from the wild for use in the tourist entertainment industry in Thaliand. Thai authorities seized the chimpanzee in 2005 and moved her to a wildlife centre where she received better care but was still on her own. In 2018 Monkey World was asked if we could give a home to a lone, adult, female chimpanzee from Thailand that was named “Natalie” and had facial deformities. It was Naree.

Rescue Information – Turkey

Since 1998 Monkey World has been working in cooperation with the Turkish Government to stop the smuggling of chimpanzees from the wild for the entertainment and pet trade.

Monkey World has rescued three female chimpanzees from the illegal pet and entertainment trades Turkey: Kuki, Zeynep & Toprish.

Rescue Information – United Arab Emirates

Honey was rescued in 1999 from Dubai.

She had been smuggled from the wild and was confiscated and given to the daughter of the Crown Prince. Honey had a two bedroom apartment in the Palace grounds, two nannies, and a large wardrobe.

Honey originally moved into the Nursery group at Monkey World and made great friends with Eveline…
…and adopted mum, Sally

Rescue Information – United Kingdom


Sinbad the Capuchin monkey was rescued from a pet shop outside Manchester in 1999.

For 16 years he lived in solitary confinement in a cage (21″ x 82″ x 144″), with no water, in the back of the shop. The local Council approved Sinbad’s permit every year. He was also allowed to climb through a room filled with rubbish, broken glass, and bird, rat, and monkey faeces.


Arthur was rescued from a garden shed in Somerset when his owner died in 1999. Arthur had been allowed to live in a tiny shed, deep in his own excrement, for 35 years. Each year the local Council approved Arthur’s conditions. Arthur lost most of his hair and his teeth were deformed as the result of his inappropriate diet.


Trudy was rescued in 1998 when her previous owner was found beating her with a riding crop. She was found living in a cold barn, in solitary confinement, and was brutally trained for the entertainment industry. Her previous owner was found guilty on 12 charges of cruelty (see press release section for further details).

Trudy now lives in Hananya’s group with her new family. (Trudy sitting in front of one of her adopted brothers).