In the wake of the devastating earthquake in the early hours of Saturday morning, UK charity, Wild Futures, has launched a campaign to support Chilean partner organisation, Centro de Rescate de Primates, Peñaflor, a rescue centre based just outside of the country’s capital, Santiago. Following the destruction of parts of the monkeys’ territory, the team must now undertake the extensive repairs necessary before the rainy season begins in around a month’s time.
The two organisations have worked closely with one another since 1997, with the Chilean centre receiving both practical help from the Wild Futures’ team of keepers, as well as regular financial support via the UK charity’s adoption scheme. After so many years working together, personal relationships between staff have, of course, developed and the team in the UK were deeply concerned for both people and monkeys at the centre when news of the earthquake hit.
Said Liz Tyson, spokesperson for Wild Futures:
“We tried to contact Elba, the centre’s director, on numerous occasions on Saturday but the telecommunications network was down. We tried making contact via the consulate in London and sent emails in case the internet came back before the phone lines. I was delighted when, on Sunday afternoon, I finally heard the phone ringing at the other end and Elba’s daughter, Cristi, answered.
We were able to speak to Elba and confirm that both humans and monkeys were safe and well but that there had been some very serious damage caused to the monkeys’ enclosures, as well as to their own homes. Elba’s major concern is that repairs have to be carried out prior to the beginning of the rainy season, due to start in just over a month. This will require a team of contractors and “all hands on deck” for the next few weeks. We are making this special appeal in order to offer emergency support to the centre and urge people to give what they can in support of this fantastic organisation. To give, please visit the Justgiving page set up specifically for the purpose www.justgiving.com/sigloxxi-appeal. All funds from this page will go directly to Chile”
Rachel Hevesi of the Wild Futures Primate Welfare Team spent a number of months at the Chilean sanctuary when it was being established. She added:
“At this time of great humanitarian crisis, our thoughts are very much with those who have lost friends and families. But we cannot forget those animals who have suffered in the pet trade that threatens their existence. Elba and her team have worked tirelessly to offer a home for life for monkeys in need in Chile, and have been responsible for some truly inspiring steps forward in the campaign to end the primate trade in her country. Please help us to help them at their time of need.”
Notes to Editors
Centro de Rescate de Primates, Peñaflor
Elba Muñoz first rescued a woolly monkey when a young boy appeared at her front door with a male woolly in his arms. It was when they began researching into the care of woolly monkeys that Elba first got in touch with Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary. In 1997 they gained authorisation to create the first official primate rescue centre in Chile.
Siglo XXI not only rescues monkeys who need a good home, but also campaigns against the pet and zoo trade, appearing on TV and in the local and national press. Thousands of Chileans are now aware of the cruelties involved in this trade, and in 2002 the government declared that, thanks to Elba’s contribution, the Chilean primate pet trade has virtually ceased. However, there are still many monkeys awaiting confiscation and sanctuary from zoos, circuses and private homes.
Wild Futures (Charity reg. No. 1102532) is an educational and environmental charity promoting the welfare and conservation of primates, and working to end the abuses of primates in captivity. Its flagship project, The Monkey Sanctuary, in Cornwall, is home to victims of the primate pet trade. Drawing on over 40 years of primate expertise, Wild Futures acts as an advisory body to sanctuaries and conservation organisations in the UK and overseas and advises DEFRA on UK animal welfare legislation.
For more information or further pictures contact:
Liz Tyson, Public Relations and Communication Manager
+44 (0) 1503 262 532