Sadly Kiki’s story is not uncommon as this brutal illegal trade in man’s closest living relative is documented throughout the world.
Kiki is one of the lucky ones that has been rescued by Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre in Dorset, England. The adolescent chimpanzee made the 15-hour journey from her small cage in Beirut, on a Middle Eastern Airlines (MEA) flight to London, and onto the Dorset sanctuary where the Monkey World team have been rescuing individuals like Kiki since 1987. To date Monkey World has assisted 19 different governments around the world to stop the illegal smuggling of monkeys and apes from the wild.
Having only been at Monkey World for a week, Kiki has settled in well and is already meeting her new adopted family of 18 other chimpanzees. She has made friends with several other adolescent females and has also met the dominant male in the community, Hananya.
Dr Alison Cronin, Monkey World’s Director and one of the team that rescued Kiki, said “It is amazing to see that after being stolen from the wild and kept in a small cage in solitary confinement for 9 years, her instinct to live with others of her own kind is so strong. Family and friends are the most important part of a chimpanzee’s life and here at Monkey World we give them families and their lives back again. It is great to see Kiki making so much progress so quickly.”
Chimpanzees are an endangered species that are threatened with habitat destruction and bush-meat hunting. The day the Monkey World team arrived in Beirut to organize Kiki’s rescue, the Lebanese government collapsed, yet in spite of political turmoil, the British and Lebanese authorities were committed to the conservation of this endangered species. Monkey World was assisted by NGO, Animal’s Lebanon, to organise Kiki’s transportation.