Wild Futures is a UK based charity organization for primate welfare and conservation. Founded in 1964, The Monkey Sanctuary is home to Capuchin Monkeys, Woolly Monkeys, Barbary Macaques and Marmosets. Education is a vital piece of the work that Wild Futures does as well as efforts and actions to stop primate pet trade and protect primates and their habitats worldwide.
Pacific Roots Magazine interviewed Sarah Hanson, Campaign Officer/PR & Fundraising Officer for Wild Futures and Kate Bee, Wild Futures PR and Fundraising administrator, about the charity and sanctuary’s history and mission, education efforts, specific primate cases and adoption program.
“Underpinning all of Wild Futures’ work in primate welfare and conservation is our education work. We believe that education is vital in changing things for the better, so we ensure that we maintain open communication channels with all of our audiences, in order to educate people on the issues surrounding our work. Our audiences include the general public, central and local government, other conservation organisations, over 30,000 annual visitors to our Sanctuary and school, youth and adult education establishments.” – Wild Futures
Interview with Sara Hanson & Kate Bee of Wild Futures, The Monkey Sanctuary
As I understand, Wild Futures is the first and only sanctuary in Europe accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries. When did Wild Futures receive the accreditation and can you share anything about the process and benefit of accreditation?
Wild Futures: We received accreditation from GFAS in 2012; they were impressed by our holistic approach in regards to campaigning, educating, welfare and sustainability. GFAS’s mission is to improve the quality of care to animals in need of sanctuary, and to evaluate the framework and structures of these sanctuaries. The evaluation process ensures that accredited sanctuaries uphold the highest standards for the animals in their care. In their own words, it gives people who are committed to helping distressed and displaced animals the comfort and confidence that they are giving their animals the best care and provides them with clear, objective, measurable outcomes to assess performance and make improvements.
Are there any specific primate stories or special moments you can share?
Wild Futures: One of our more harrowing stories is that of capuchin monkey, Joey. Joey was born in the wild in the rainforests of Suriname, but was caught and brought over to the UK for the primate pet trade at just a few months old. For 9 years he was kept in a small wardrobe-sized cage in a flat in London. Left alone for most of the day, and without access to sunlight, space, or the correct diet, he suffered permanent physical and psychological damage. Joey developed severe nutritional bone disease leading to many irreversible disabilities. When Joey first arrived it was feared that he would not survive, and that even if he could he may be unable to socialise with the other monkeys. But Joey showed a will and a determination to live and to thrive. With just a few adaptations to his enclosures he was eventually able to do everything else the other monkeys could do – walk along beams and ropes and even climb trees! He also made many friends, and actually became one of the few monkeys we use to introduce other newly rescued monkeys into sanctuary life – to teach them skills and social behaviours – all due to his friendly and calm nature. Joey has really flourished here at the Monkey Sanctuary, and in his 10 years here has proven that almost anything is possible if you are strong enough to try.
Can you please tell us more about the scope of the education efforts your organisation does from general public, private, schools, government and more?
Wild Futures: Underpinning all of Wild Futures’ work in primate welfare and conservation is our education work. We believe that education is vital in changing things for the better, so we ensure that we maintain open communication channels with all of our audiences, in order to educate people on the issues surrounding our work. Our audiences include the general public, central and local government, other conservation organisations, over 30,000 annual visitors to our Sanctuary and school, youth and adult education establishments.
Through formal and informal presentations, discussion groups, talks and workshops at our Sanctuary site and in educational establishments, we educate on the themes of primate welfare and conservation, the environment, UK wildlife conservation and sustainability and ethical consumerism. We also participate in local, national and international conservation forums and conferences and advise at local and central government level on primate welfare issues. We make educational resources available free-of-charge to educational establishments.
Can you share more for our readers about Adopting a Monkey? This seems like a great thing to just do on one’s own or even as a gift for someone. Once someone adopts do they receive continued updates about the monkey?
Wild Futures: Adopting a monkey with Wild Futures really is a gift with a difference. Whether it’s a gift for yourself or another, you will be supporting the work of our charity and enabling us to protect primates and their habitats worldwide. The monkeys featured in the adoption scheme reside at the Monkey Sanctuary. Each monkey is unique with their own characters and personalities so please do check out their monkey pictures and profiles on our website.
As a Monkey adopter you will receive: a cuddly monkey toy (optional), a personalised certificate of your adoption, a photo of your adopted monkey, your monkey’s story, species factsheet, Wild Futures newsletters throughout the year, and discounted entry fee to our Monkey Sanctuary.
Adopting a monkey with Wild Futures enables us to continue our vital work campaigning for an end to the primate pet trade in the UK, and to help protect primates and their habitats worldwide. It also means that you are helping to provide the resources needed to give your adopted monkey the best life possible.
Visit Wild Futures online at: https://www.monkeysanctuary.org/
Feature & Interview by Pacific Roots Magazine Editorial Desk