Miracle monkey celebrates 10 year anniversary at sanctuary

Wild Futures, is celebrating Joey the capuchin monkey’s 10 year rescue anniversary! Before arriving at Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary Joey, spent 9 years as a pet in conditions that left him disabled and traumatised.

Joey was taken from the rainforest in Suriname, South America; his mother was probably killed for bush meat. He was then imported to the UK with paperwork that stated that he had been “rescued from the wild”!  At around three months old, he began his life as someone’s pet, kept in a tiny cage in Hampstead, London.

Capuchins are highly social and intelligent monkeys. Joey was deprived of the company of his own kind, he was unable to exercise and had no access to natural sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency left him severely disabled; His bones became deformed; he developed a fused spine, hip dysplasia and poorly formed jaw. He would have been in constant pain. To try and cope with his situation, Joey would sit and rock all day, creating an open sore at the base of his spine. For ‘company’ Joey had a flat screen TV attached to the wall in front of his wardrobe sized cage that was on 24 hours a day.

This was Joey’s life for 9 years.

His owner fled the country in 2007, and left her neighbour to visit and feed lonely Joey once a day. Fortunately, this was the beginning of the end of Joey’s awful life as a pet. When the bailiffs arrived, the neighbour rang the primate charity.

Joey was rescued by Wild Futures in 2007. At first carers at the charity had very grave concerns about his physical and psychological health, and thought that he may not make it, as he was one of the worst cases they had ever seen.

Luckily Joey very quickly proved to be one of the most resilient characters that Wild Futures had ever met, with support and care he has amazed everyone who knows him.

Rachel Hevesi, Director of Wild Futures, said: “Seeing Joey step outside for the first time in nine years brought tears to our eyes. He was still fragile but the pleasure of feeling the sun on his face was obvious.  Most importantly, he was fascinated by seeing the other monkeys. His courage is remarkable and today he loves to play, groom, forage and explore with his monkey friends. Every monkey deserves this opportunity and Joey inspires us all to continue our work to end the primate pet trade.”

She continues: “Joey’s rescue was only possible because of our wonderful adopters and donors. There are so many primates who need rescuing, so if anyone can give, money or goods in kind, they will know that it really saves lives.”

Joey’s ability to adapt to his new life at the Sanctuary and his strength in overcoming his past is incredible and something worth celebrating. Wild Futures are inviting people to come along to The Monkey Sanctuary in Looe, Cornwall on the 30th August to mark the special day.

Artist, Gareth Lloyd has drawn a portrait of Joey especially for his anniversary. This will be auctioned to raise funds for Wild Futures and the monkeys in their care.

Wild Futures estimates that approximately 5,000 privately owned primates are kept in the UK, with calls to rescue centres and sanctuaries like Wild Futures continuing to rise. Wild Futures is campaigning for an end to the primate pet trade. Although Joey is one of worst cases it has seen, all of the rescued monkeys residing at Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary suffer, physically and/ or psychologically, following their time kept as pets.  Many suffer with diabetes due to poor nutrition; others have missing digits or tails, and numerous monkeys display stereotypical behavioural issues such as self-harming and pacing. Wild Futures is currently building a new marmoset facility in response to the rising number of requests to rescue these tiny victims of the UK pet trade.