Longhorns, Wareham, Dorset
Tel: +44 (0) 1929 462537
About Monkey World
Monkey World is a conservation centre and captivating family attraction located at Longthorns, Wareham, northeast of Wool in Dorset. Monkey World lies in 65 acres of countryside sanctuary and was founded in 1987 by Jim and Alison Cronin, in order to provide a stable, nurturing home for abused Spanish beach chimps.
Since then, the family attraction has won an international reputation as a leader in the field of primate welfare, rescuing animals from across the globe and housing them in naturalistic enclosures, providing them with care and attention, and allowing ticket holders to observe their ongoing rehabilitation.
Monkey World boasts the largest group of chimpanzees outside Africa, numbering over 50 adults in three distinct groups, as well as more than a dozen residents of the family attraction’s Nursery. They form the core of a community of 170 individuals, taking in 16 species of ape and monkey.
The rescue centre has featured on BBC, ITV, CNN, National Geographic and Sky TV channels, and among the documentary specials shot at Monkey World are ITV’s Nature Watch and the BBC’s Operation Chimpanzee, State of the Ark and Animal Hospital, not to mention Monkey Business.
A ticket to Monkey World grants visitors a fascinating insight into the workings of the institute, and to see the stars off set, literally monkeying around, as the inmates – all natural performers – entertain their human cousins by zipping about their enclosures, climbing trees and ropes, interacting with each other, and playing to the crowd during feeding sessions. For a fun family day out, watching our ancestors is just the ticket!
The African Chimps at Monkey World can be observed in their enclosures re-creating primary and secondary woodland savannah, grassland and tropical rainforest, eating fruit, leaves, seeds and animal prey. Visitors on a family day out will note that the groups have a rigid hierarchy, with a core group of related males patrolling the community territory and its boundaries. At night, they make a ‘nest’ of interwoven leafy branches that forms a platform for the night.
The chimps’ tea parties are not the only draw on a family day out to Monkey World, for the venerable orangutans – of which there are three groups totalling over a dozen members – make the best use of their spacious enclosures in a natural woodland setting. Originating in Borneo and Sumatra, they’re usually solitary animals, but they have loose associations, especially when it comes to eating, which can be seen as part of a family day out at Monkey World.
Additionally, the family attraction boasts no fewer than four types of gibbon, some 14 ring-tailed lemurs, 11 stump-tailed macaques, three squirrel monkeys, 10 Woolly and capuchin monkeys, plus marmosets and Goeldi’s monkey.
The Woolly Monkeys come from central and western South America and have a prehensile tail that is used to forage for food while hanging upside down in foliage, making for a comical interlude on a family day out. The capuchins eat fruit, leaves, seeds, gums, flowers and animals, though they can be highly strung, so ticket holders should be prepared to cover their ears!
Also from South America, Squirrel Monkeys live in male groups of 20-40 in primary and secondary forests and mangrove swamps. They mainly eat frogs, snails, crabs and insects, as well as some fruit and seeds.
Their neighbours – both in the wild and at Monkey World – Capuchin monkeys, also thrive in male groups of 8-14 individuals in primary and secondary rainforest and deciduous lowlands. They use their prehensile tail for gripping and balancing in trees, and they eat fruit, seeds and animals. Additionally, they scent-mark their territory by washing their hands and feet in their urine and daubing it on trees – not something you’ll see at just any family attraction!
The final Latin American habitué are Marmosets that live in family groups in which only one female breeds and the group rear the young.
Like the orangutan, Siamang Gibbons come from Sumatra and the Malayan Peninsula’s primary and secondary forests. Classified as ‘lesser apes’, they thrive in the top canopy and feed on leaves, fruit, flowers and smaller animals.
As for the lemurs, their Malagasy habitat is re-created at Monkey World with appropriate flora and fauna, and visitor walkthroughs in the lemur forest provide access to these inquisitive primates.
The work of Monkey World in advising governments all over the world on how to stop the illegal smuggling of apes out of Africa and Asia is detailed in displays at the Visitor Centre, describing how Monkey World has rescued chimps not only at home, but also in Spain, Greece, France, Austria, The Netherlands, Israel, Cyprus, Dubai and Taiwan, where they were abused in laboratories, as exotic pets, beach photographer’s props, or circus animals.
New arrivals at Monkey World are given a thorough medical examination at the on-site hospital before beginning a process of recovery and rehabilitation, with chimps placed in large social groups. The clinical examination is under a general anaesthetic, including assessment of dental health, age and weight; haematology and serum profiles; tests for TB, HIV and other viruses, Hepatitis B and C, parasites and bacteria; and vaccinations are given, as well as a microchip transponder implant to identify the animal in future.
Thereafter, Monkey World carries out regular checks at the family attraction that ticket holders can learn more about from keepers, including a daily assessment, and tests for parasites and bacteria. The family attraction’s animal houses are equipped with disinfectant footbaths, boot brushes, overalls, masks, gloves and boots, and a family day out can include observations of the keepers’ work, checking up on broken teeth, wounds inflicted by other animals, respiratory and intestinal infections, cataracts and arthritis. Indeed, some of Monkey World’s chimpanzees and orangutans are trained to allow our staff to examine their hands and feet, teeth, chest and ears, making for an intriguing sight on a family day out.
Monkey World also works to stop the smuggling of gibbons and orangutans from South East Asia, and the family attraction encourages school parties to learn more about these efforts and its broader conservation remit with bookable sessions (detailed at the website).
Ticket holders on a family day out to Monkey World also have access to the Visitor Centre’s adjoining soft play area – the south’s largest Great Ape Play Area for Kids- a gift shop, a cafeteria and Restaurant, outdoor play and picnic areas, scenic woodland walks, a pets encounter zone featuring native as well as more exotic species, including a bird pond and donkey paddock, a viewing tower, and Big Al’s Adventure amusements.
With disabled facilities and access throughout the family attraction, Monkey World is a fascinating family day out that everyone can enjoy.