Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Lonely monkey finds his Val-entine

Posted: 12 February 2015

An embrace with Valerie ends a lifetime of loneliness for rescued Pepe

Lima, Peru: The tale of Pepe, a spider monkey rescued from a circus in world-famous holiday destination Cusco, by Animal Defenders International (ADI) has gripped animal lovers around the world.

The intelligent, playful monkey had been kept alone and chained by the neck for eight years. The circus had snapped off Pepe’s canine teeth so that he could not defend himself, and the world’s leading veterinary dentist had to be flown in to repair the damage. Now, in the most moving chapter of his story so far, Pepe has finally been reunited with his own kind.

ADI has been assisting the Peruvian authorities to enforce their ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, as well as with the relocation of animals seized from the illegal pet trade – a mission called Operation Spirit of Freedom. In January, the ADI rescue center outside Lima received Valerie, a young, illegally-trafficked spider monkey who was being used for entertainment in a restaurant.

For Valentine’s Day, ADI has released heart-warming footage of Pepe meeting Valerie for the first time, and their joy as they begin to play and chatter to each other: http://youtu.be/lwnlMPpGKmM

ADI President Jan Creamer said “Pepe is a gentle soul with a big heart and we are absolutely thrilled to see him and Valerie together knowing they both spent so many years alone – it was a very emotional moment. Pepe has been incredibly affectionate with all of us, but we knew that what he really needed was someone of his own kind to love.”

“We urgently need funds for the habitats in the Amazon to make the forever homes for Pepe, Valerie and the other monkeys we have rescued. They deserve their own happily-ever-after. Just £6 will help give Pepe and Valerie the perfect happy ending.”

ADI has a temporary rescue center just outside Lima, with a full time veterinary team acting as a hub for Operation Spirit of Freedom in Peru. ADI is caring for 21 lions and over 20 other native wild animals there – mainly monkeys. ADI will be relocating all of the animals to permanent homes in the next two months including flying the 21 lions, plus 9 other lions from Colombia, to a sanctuary in Colorado USA.

As part of the rehabilitation program, ADI experts assess the individual animals and form family groups so they can be rehomed together. Prior to their emotional union, Pepe and Valerie had reached out to each other and held hands through the bars of their neighbouring enclosures. Then, under the watchful eyes of the ADI team, the two monkeys were allowed to meet.

All of the native wildlife rescued during ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom, including Pepe and Valerie, will be relocated to sanctuaries in Peru’s Amazon forests but ADI must first construct the jungle habitats that will be their homes.

Jan Creamer, “The current care, relocation and habitat construction costs for this important rescue operation are enormous, but we hope that if Pepe and Valerie’s story touches people’s hearts this Valentine’s Day they will help put right the wrong done to these animals at the hands of people.”

Please donate to help ADI build Pepe and Valerie a new home in the Amazon

Watch “When Pepe met Valerie”

Find out more about ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom

# ENDS – Do not publish beyond this point #

Contact: Fleur Dawes +44 (0)20 7630 3344 or +44 (0)7785 552548 prdesk@ad-international.org

Interviews available on request

Further ADI film and photographs of animals rescued and in circuses available


Footage from ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom


Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses was passed in 2012 following a successful campaign by ADI and local animal protection groups, following a two-year undercover investigation by ADI which revealed widespread suffering of circus animals across South America. The shocking exposé led to calls for action and nationwide bans followed in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and El Salvador.

Operation Spirit of Freedom was launched in August 2014 with ADI providing complete logistical support to the Peruvian authorities and raiding circuses all over Peru. 21 ex-circus lions are now in ADI’s care in the temporary ADI Spirit of Freedom rescue center near Lima.

ADI has also begun assisting the Colombian authorities and has in ADI care nine circus lions which will join the Peruvian lions on the flight to the USA.

Legendary, award-winning TV host Bob Barker donated $500,000
to get the rescue mission underway and establish the temporary holding center in Peru.

ADI estimate that construction of all the habitats for the indigenous wildlife, their care whilst they are constructed, and the cost to relocate the animals, will require $60-80,000 – and possibly more because of the diversity of specie. Approximately $200,000 is needed for the relocation of the lions from Peru and Colombia.


National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild, all animals, or in a handful of cases specific species have been enacted in 30 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Taiwan, The Netherlands. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, USA, Brazil and Chile.


Animal Defenders International
With offices in Bogota, Los Angeles and London, 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. http://www.ad-international.org

© Animal Defenders International 2019