Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Animal Defenders International launches monkey rescue appeal for International Primate Day

Posted: 28 August 2014. Updated: 28 August 2014

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is launching an appeal to help monkeys saved from the circus and pet trade in Peru, ahead of International Primate Day, an awareness day held on September 1 during which the threats primates continue to face are highlighted.

Just days ago, Pepe the spider monkey lived alone in a circus in Peru, a terrible fate for any animal but particularly traumatic for this intelligent, social species who, in the wild, would live in the rainforest in a close-knit troop. Sadly, like many primates in his predicament, Pepe had his canine teeth snapped off, leaving him with just stumps.

The ADI rescue team brought Pepe to safety on an epic journey across the Andes and as part of its Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue mission, during which the organisation is assisting the authorities with enforcement of its ban on wild animals in circuses. The legislation came into effect after a major campaign by ADI, during which it exposed the terrible suffering of circus animals in the country.

After arriving at the rescue centre, ADI founders Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips cut Pepe free of the chain and collar that had been wired around his neck during the years he had been forced to spend with the circus. As they did so, Pepe held onto their hands and looked into their eyes, showing the trust that he had, despite the years of suffering he had faced.

ADI President Jan Creamer: “Despite the terrible suffering he had endured in the circus, Pepe behaved with a quiet dignity that was deeply moving. It was an honour to cut away the chain that had held him captive, and to hold his hands as we did so, his gaze meeting ours. We are so thankful to those whose support has enabled us to rescue Pepe. There are however others who need our urgent help. Please help us give Pepe and others a second chance of life by contributing towards our Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue appeal. Thank you.”

Pepe has joined three capuchin monkeys rescued from the pet trade and placed with ADI by the Peruvian authorities. ADI is caring for the primates and other wild animals rescued from circuses in Peru at a specially built rescue centre where they will be looked after until permanent homes are found for them. The primates and native wild animals will be rehomed in Peru, whilst lions and other non-native animals will be airlifted to a sanctuary in the US.

ADI is appealing for members of the public to help fund its complex rescue mission, from the removal of animals from circuses across Peru to their relocation to sanctuaries where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace. Donations can be made at

International Primate Day was inspired by a chimpanzee called Toto. Trafficked and abused for entertainment, ADI rescued Toto and gave him 11 years of freedom with his own kind in Africa. Toto was also the inspiration behind ADI’s Stop Circus Suffering Latin America campaign, which has led to animal circus bans in seven countries and the rescue of dozens of animals.

As well as Toto, ADI has rescued baboons, macaques and capuchins from suffering. Some have been released back into the wild, whilst others enjoy the very best of care in sanctuaries, and can be adopted at

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Contact: Fleur Dawes +44 (0)20 7630 3344 or +44 (0)7785 552548

Images of Pepe and the other monkeys rescued by ADI are available on request.

International Primate Day was established by Animal Defenders International in 2005 to highlight the threats to and abuses of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom – apes and monkeys – from their use in entertainment and research, and for meat and the pet trade.

Toto the chimpanzee was the impetus behind International Primate Day. Stolen from the wild, and from his family as a baby, Toto was trafficked to the United States before being sold on to a circus in Chile. ADI rescued him on September 1, and took him home to Africa where he found companionship for the first time in over 20 years. Toto enjoyed 11 years of freedom with his own kind, until he died peacefully in his sleep this summer. Watch Toto Goes Home rescue documentary here:

When used in entertainment, monkeys and apes suffer terribly, deprived of all the normal, social and mental stimulation that they would enjoy in the wild. They will often live in social isolation, in barren conditions where they remain until wanted for a performance. Infants are removed from their mothers for training, which may be gained through a withdrawal of food, water or affection.

National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild or all animals, have been enacted in 27 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, and Taiwan. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, Brazil, Chile, Malta, Mexico and The Netherlands. Over 200 local authorities in Britain have bans on the use of animals in circuses in place.

Animal Defenders International: With offices in London, Los Angeles and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

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