Come and meet these little cuties at Monkey Haven – they’re so cheeky and adorable, you would never guess that they were raised in squalor and were close to death, before being given a ‘forever home’ on the Isle of Wight…
Scrunching up their eyes, to see in the darkness, the rescuers recoiled in horror. The windowless room was packed with tiny cages, from floor to ceiling, and inside were 180 wimpering monkeys. Some were dead, others were dying. The floor was covered in excrement and the stench was overwhelming.
This was the terrible scene that greeted rescuers when they were called to a house in France, owned by a woman who claimed to be running an Educational Farm. The animals were taken in by the AAP, a European charity that cares for primates in need, and works closely with Monkey Haven on the Isle of Wight.
“Our hearts broke when we heard about their plight”, says Don Walser, Founder of Monkey Haven. “We had to do something – and thanks to our generous supporters, we were able to rehome three of the seriously ill Cotton-Top Tamarins.”
At first, the fluffy haired monkeys weren’t well enough to travel to the Island. They needed an incubator and treatment for life threatening diseases. However after several months, the tough little trio were strong enough to make the 700 miles journey to Monkey Haven, an award winning primate rescue centre just outside Newport. Some of their pals were not so lucky and died before they could be given a new home.
Mary, Mungo and Midge were very shy to start with – but quickly adapted to their spacious and leafy surroundings. Six years later, and you would never guess what they’d been through. Their behaviour is normal, and they have developed feisty personalities. They enjoy treats such as banana and melon, and the occasional baby mouse. Although they’re friendly and sociable, they have taken a strange dislike to two of the Keepers. “We think we must remind them of their former owner”, says Keeper Lisa. “When our backs are turned, they pull our hair and try and bite our ears! But we don’t mind, we love them just the same”.
You can meet the Cotton-Top Tamarins at Monkey Haven, where there are also noisy gibbons, mischievous meerkats, birds of prey, and surprisingly cuddly reptiles.
“We’re a charity and all the proceeds from your visit will go towards supporting the animals you’ll meet,” says the founder, Don. “You’ll have a really fun time, and with your help, we can rescue even more creatures in need. So swing by and see us soon!”