Please take the time to read these FAQs before your visit – we hope you find them helpful. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please get in touch using the contact page and we will be happy to help you.
Q: How many monkeys do you have?
A: At present, we care for 39 monkeys – all directly or indirectly rescued from the trade in primates as pets.
Q: Can I hold or feed one of the monkeys?
A: Many of our monkeys have been kept as pets and have had very sad starts to life, often with no company of their own kind at all. When they come to the Sanctuary, they learn how to be monkeys again, they make friends, and they become less dependent on humans. To encourage their progress, we ensure that physical contact with the monkeys is kept to a minimum in order that our new arrivals learn that the best companion for a monkey is another monkey!
This is one of the reasons that we do not allow our visitors to have contact with the monkeys. In addition, all monkeys are wild animals, they are extremely strong for their size and all have large canines and a nasty bite. They will protect their territory from individuals that they are not familiar with if they feel threatened. There are barriers around the site to ensure our visitors’ safety and we ask that, during your visit, you stay safely behind these barriers whilst enjoying watching the monkeys.
Q: Can I bring my dog to the Sanctuary?
A: Unfortunately we cannot allow dogs (including assistance dogs) into the main Sanctuary site as the presence of any unknown animals, and dogs in particular, upsets and frightens the monkeys. We ask that you never leave your dog in the car during your visit but you are welcome to bring your four-legged friends with you to our Cafe, which is dog-friendly and situated in our main car park. If you will require assistance during your visit please contact us in advance of your visit to make alternative arrangements on 0844 272 1271 (Calls cost 7ppm, cheaper than a standard BT call).
Q: Are the monkeys free-roaming?
A: Visitors to the Sanctuary some years ago may remember that the female and young woolly monkeys roamed around the gardens during the day and often ask us if this is still the case. One of the major reasons that the woollies did roam free was to give them space and extra territory – over the years, the territory has increased and the monkeys now have a huge area at their disposal. This has enabled the male woolly monkeys access to the trees which they did not have previously. This, coupled with the backgrounds of the more recently rescued monkeys and evolving views on best practice means that the monkeys cannot be out and about. Please ask a member of staff if you would like more information
Q: Will your monkeys ever be released?
A: Sadly not. As most of the monkeys have been born in this country to feed the pet trade, and we cannot be sure of their genetic history, we cannot consider them for release as there is very strict legislation which governs release programmes in order to protect wild populations and ecosystems. Even if we were able to release them, the very fact that many of our monkeys have had a traumatic start to life, means that they are only just learning “normal” behaviours and simply wouldn’t survive in the wild. For this reason, we offer all our monkeys a safe home for life.
Q: Do you have any baby monkeys?
A: As there is no opportunity to release our monkeys, and there are still so many monkeys in need of a safe home, we do not have a breeding programme here at the Sanctuary. Our woolly monkey colony used to breed but we implemented contraceptives for the females once it became clear that we were not able to release the colony, as once hoped. Please ask our staff for further information on our non-breeding policy.
Q: Will we see all the monkeys on our visit?
A: The majority of the monkeys’ enclosures are in the area of the Sanctuary to which our visitors have access. There is a section of the rescue centre which is out of sight and small areas within most enclosures where the monkeys can hide away to rest, and in order to give new arrivals the chance to settle in and have some time where they can simply concentrate on being monkeys and learn to socialise, climb and play as monkeys should! We appreciate our visitors’ understanding on this point.
Q: Is your site accessible for wheelchairs and visitors with limited mobility?
A: We have disabled parking spaces available at the bottom of the drive – please feel free to drive down and make use of them.
Due to the natural setting of the site and the listed status of the main Sanctuary house, we regret that we are not able to provide full access to all areas of the site to visitors with limited mobility.
Please ask a member of staff for more information on access and available discounted rates.
PLEASE NOTE: Toilets for disabled customers are situated in the car park. We regret that we cannot offer disabled toilet facilities on the main site so please be sure to use the facilities in the car park before making your way down to the Sanctuary.
Q: I have specific dietary requirements – do you cater for my needs?
A: Our cafe can cater for those with specific dietary requirements so please be sure to tell our staff what you need, and we will do our best to help!