I was very sorry to hear from my Mum last night that ape rescue campaigner Jim Cronin died this week. Jim was the co-founder of Dorset's Monkey World with his wife Alison, an internationally renowned ape rescue centre I've visited twice with my wife.
His death at just 55 from liver cancer has left us both shocked and saddened. Even though we never met him, we've followed the work of Monkey World through the TV series, as the team there worked with governments around the world to halt the illegal smuggling of apes out of Africa and Asia.
Jim was a tireless campaigner, firmly establishing himself as an international expert in the rescue and rehabilitation of abused primates, and the enforcement of international treaties aimed at protecting primates from illegal trade and experimentation.
If you get chance, I'd recommend a visit to the 65 acre wildlife park, opened thanks to his own personal investment (he sold his own house to start the project), and support from his business partner. Some government funding followed later.
"Jim had a passion for life and the conservation of wildlife that was an inspiration to all who knew him," the Monkey World web site tribute reads. "His enthusiasm was infectious and he will be missed by all whose lives he touched. Jim’s legacy will continue under the guidance of his devoted wife, Dr Alison Cronin. Monkey World and the numerous projects Jim and Alison set up around the world will continue as a fitting memorial to a man whose life touched so many around the world."
Monkey World have set up a fund in memory of Jim, who was awarded an MBE for his work, to continue his legacy and all donations should be made payable to the Jim Cronin Memorial Fund and sent to Monkey World - Ape Rescue Centre, Wareham, Dorset BH20 6HH.
He will be much missed.
- New York Times obituary (registration required) - 20 March 2007
- Report on funeral in the US - The Journal News, 20 March 2007
- Senior Keeper Mike Colbourne has pays tribute to Jim in The Dorset Echo (21 March 2007)
- Tributes from the Ape Alliance and other campaigners in The Dorset Echo (21 March 2007)
- Tribute by Neal Butterworth, Editor of The Dorset Echo (20 March 2007)
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