Talk by Mike Colbourne on Monkey World
It is always nice when the president opens the meeting by inducting a new member into our club. President Rob had that pleasure today with Jane Hall joining us. We look forward to seeing and getting to know Jane better at our meetings and events. We sincerely hope that she obtains much pleasure and enjoyment as a member.
Various committee members gave us updates about events, news of members suffering with medical ailments and sadly the passing of Vic. Wells.
How lucky we were that Mike Colbourne was able to step in as our speaker. We really could not have had such an enthusiastic, emotional, humorous and knowledgeable person to speak to us on Monkey World.
Mike has been working with primates for something in excess of 50 years with 6.5 years at Chester Zoo, 27.5 years at Bristol Zoo and then 20 years at Monkey World. He certainly used this vast experience to maximum effect with some wonderful examples and tales of things his work has involved.
Mike started by telling that Monkey World opened in 1987 with the aim of stopping and rescuing chimpanzees, on a 65 acre site near Wareham, from the horrific steps that went into obtaining chimpanzees in Spain for photographs with holiday makers.
There are now over 250 animals at Monkey World which have come from a variety of sources including closed zoos and discarded pets. Monkey World has also helped 27 governments stop the black market in monkeys. Mike had some photographs with him but, I do suggest looking at the Monkey World website
where there are many more.
Monkey World is the largest rescue centre in the world. It is proud of being the only breeder of woolly monkeys, a critically endangered monkey.
All monkeys arriving at Monkey World undergo a health check. They are lucky in having a Harley Street dentist to look at teeth.
Mike told us that an adjoining 151 acres have been purchased next door to the existing site with a property which can be used for weddings and as an educational centre.
To conclude what was a really excellent talk, even for those not particularly interested in monkeys, Mike managed to get Rob to pretend to be newly arrived chimpanzee (stop it!) with a view to demonstrating how a monkey can be trained. Mike does many talks and apparently Rob was first class at obeying commands given (I know unbelievable but, others as well as me can bear witness).
Mike thank you very much for entertaining as well as educating us so well. Apart from anything else the hour plus that you were speaking certainly flew past.