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Jim Cronin, who died aged 55 on 17 March, 2007, was a dedicated conservationist and campaigner who spent much of his life rescuing endangered primates. Starting out as a small refuge with just “a handful of monkeys and a couple of kids’ rides,” ‘Monkey World’, his sanctuary for apes which he ran in Dorset, became a prime tourist attraction and helped house hundreds of primate species. Today, the centre is home to apes rescued from 13 countries and helps to highlight cases such as, ‘Trudy’, who found international fame as the focus of a 1999 BBC1 documentary about the conditions in which performing animals are kept. “If I had put as much energy into a commercial venture as I have into Monkey World, I would be a pretty rich man,” he once remarked. James Michael Cronin was born on 15 November, 1951, in New York. The son of Irish-American parents, he was educated at Lincoln High School and initially began his career driving a van for a removals firm. However, an accident whilst moving a grand piano left him with his leg in traction and prompted him to take a rather more fulfilling job at New York’s Bronx Zoo, where much of his time was spent caring for the primates. In 1980, he moved to the UK to set up a primate breeding programme at Howlett’s Zoo in Kent. There, despite a lack of formal qualifications, his passion and flair for working with animals were greatly admired and, by 1985, he had signed a lease on an abandoned pig farm in Dorset to create the landmark rescue centre ‘Monkey World’. Its gates opened two years later and soon became one of the fastest-growing tourist attractions in the south of England, while also serving as a springboard for Mr Cronin’s numerous other rescue and recovery campaigns around the world. Increasingly determined to help stop the illegal trade in primates, Mr Cronin even went as far as lobbying the then-prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. The outcome was the ‘Adopt a Chimp’ scheme, launched to help the rescues. In 1993, he met his second wife, Alison, and for 13 years they made dozens of trips together to countries such as Africa and Turkey, famously co-ordinating a raid on a Turkish pet shop in 1998 where baby chimps were being sold. Later years saw him diagnosed with liver cancer, forcing him to leave his beloved apes and seek treatment at a specialist hospital in New York. However, despite a long course of intensive chemotherapy, Mr Cronin later died on 17 March 2007. ‘Monkey World’ has since established the ‘Jim Cronin Memorial Fund’ to continue his legacy. In 2006, the much-loved conservationist was appointed MBE in the New Year’s Honours, but died before he could collect the medal. Over the past few decades, ‘Monkey World’ has rescued chimps from Spain, Greece, France, England, Austria, the Netherlands, Israel, Cyprus, Dubai and Taiwan. Mr Cronin and his second wife helped to set up a monkey sanctuary in Taiwan.
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Viewed by: 6504 visitors. Uploaded: 11 years ago
Published in: Online.
Published from: March 17, 2007.
Region: National
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Left by Animal lover :
03/01/2018
A remarkable man and advocate for animals, a saviour for monkeys and apes worldwide. Respected, adored and missed by animal lovers across the globe. His work and endeavours live on through the tireless and selfless work of his equally respected and adored wife Alison, who also keeps his memories very much alive.
Left by Animal Lover: 03/01/2018
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Left by Cynthia & Drew Stewart :
18/06/2017
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19/07/2016
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Left by jean :
15/03/2013
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