Monkey World carries on through Covid-19

Monkey World overcoming a challenging year - with the help of 9 year Samuel's 40 mile fundraising pledge!

Covid 19 - ‘the most difficult challenge Monkey World has had to overcome’

Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre is a primate rescue centre near Wareham, set up in 1987 by Jim Cronin MBE to rescue chimpanzees, smuggled from the wild in Africa and abused as photographer’s props for tourists on the beaches of Spain.

On the 17th March, 13 years to the day since Jim’s passing, Monkey World took the difficult decision to close to the public due to the risk of coronavirus.
In its 33 year history, this is the most difficult challenge that Monkey World has had to overcome. Monkey World is a much loved tourist attraction, and visitors to the site fund the vital rescue operations. Unlike many zoos, the park is open 364 days a year, closing only on Christmas Day, to ensure there are sufficient funds to care for the primates at the park, and ones in need of rescue worldwide. To date, we have worked with 28 governments worldwide to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife by providing a home for the refugees of this trade, and we are now home to over 260 monkeys, apes and prosimians.

A transmission risk to our Primates?

When the coronavirus crisis appeared on the horizon, we worried not just for the safety of our visitors and staff, but also for our rescued primates. There have been instances of other coronaviruses – but not Covid-19- being transmitted to chimpanzees, and we know that as they are so similar to us, the great apes can suffer from the same bugs and viruses as humans. In order to protect our primates, and team, from this new threat, we took the difficult decision to close the park to the public before lockdown.

Our fantatic supporters have dug deep

While the economic impact of early closure has been huge, we have maintained a healthy, happy park, and our pleased to say our monkeys and apes are blissfully unaware of the trouble befalling the outside world! By closing, we are operating at a loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds a month, but we’ve been overwhelmed by our fantastic supporters, who have dug deep during this difficult time and donated money, fresh food, items from our amazon wish list, or joined our primate adoption scheme. Every day people are calling to donate their “entrance fee”- what they would have spent if they had visited the park, which has been wonderful!

Our monkeys really miss the visitors

Although we are down to a skeleton team at the park, with staff working from home if they are able to, we have been busy trying to share the monkeys with the world, through daily social media content, Facebook live tours, and even personal Zoom Tours. It is clear the monkeys and apes are really missing the visitors! Some chimpanzees in particular love interacting with the public, and others just seem intrigued by all the different characters we have visiting the park, and can while away time by people watching, so the keepers are busy providing extra enrichment and entertainment to keep them stimulated during this quiet time.

Online Primate education course for home schooling parents

We are also running a free primate education course for home-schooling parents, to try and encourage their little monkeys to engage with learning during lockdown! As well as a video lesson, PowerPoints and activity sheets, kids can get involved with interactive lessons on social media.

Safety first when considering re-opening

Although lockdown measures are now being eased, we are still unsure of an opening date. We need to ensure we can adequately shield and protect not only our primates and staff, but also any visitors to the site. This will take some time to implement, and it may be a while until we feel we are able to open as “normal”. We are taking a huge hit as the summer months are naturally our busiest, but at the moment, we have to put safety ahead of other concerns. Thanks to those fundraising for us, and generous donations, we are hopeful that we will be able to open again soon, and our rescue work can resume once more.
For those who would like to help Monkey World continue to care for its rescued and endangered animals, donations can be made here. For more information on how Monkey World is coping during closure, please visit our fundraising page on our website.

9 year old Samuel’s 40 mile fundraising pledge for Monkey World!

Wareham Tower Chimes was recently contacted by a mother from Suffolk, whose 9 year old son is raising money for Monkey World and the Jim Cronin memorial fund.

“My husband was based at Bovington a few years ago. When we would FaceTime we could hear the monkeys from Monkey World. My son who was much younger then thought this was so great. So, when we went to visit my husdband we decided that Monkey World had to be explored. Several times!
Anyway back to the present day. My son has decided to raise money for them as he knows during this time everyone is finding it hard. Samuel is jogging 300 laps around our village hall field, where we live in Suffolk over the 30 days of June.
So Samuel wanted to help out Monkey world as it’s currently shut to the public because due to Covid 19. He is an active boy playing football and Hockey for our local teams. So the best way we thought he could help and keep active would be to jog around our village hall field.
Samuel decided that he would do this over June and would complete 300 laps. If my calculations are correct this works out about 40 miles for the month. Samuel has been out in all types of weather so far sunshine, gales and rain. He won’t be put off!’

Samuel is just over half way through his fundraising jog and has already raised over £500 pounds (his goal was just £150.00!)  The team at Wareham Tower Chimes would like to say a big well done to Samuel.

If you would like to support Samuel here is a link to his Gofundme page.

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