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MONA Primate Rescue Centre by Dietmar Crialsham

Fundación MONA, a safe haven for chimpanzees and macaques in need … a place to educate and raise awareness … a place to learn, improve and gain experience. This is what our NGO strives to be, achieving in the process a better world for primates. Converting people into part of the solution rather than remaining part of the problem.

During the last twenty years we slowly grew, reaching more and more people, rescuing more and more primates, but we still don´t feel like we have done enough. And how could we, with so many primate species close to extinction and so many captive held chimpanzees and other primates in dire need to be rescued?

Every successful rescue and rehabilitation is a joyful event, but still only a small gain compared to what still needs to be done. At MONA we believe it is equally important to help those animals that suffer in captivity, as reducing the number of animals following their tragic destiny. Wild animals should remain in their natural habitat, undisturbed by any human activities and those that already live in captivity deserve to receive the best care available.

Thanks to the support and donations we receive from people caring and respecting these animals, as well as from those who decided to “become part of the solution” after listening to our stories, we are slowly getting closer to our goal.

Covid-19 – Perhaps we can learn something from it

And now the Covid-19 situation has occurred, bringing grief to many, but also providing time to reflect. A zoonotic virus that got transmitted to humans from another species, because we invaded once again too deep into the habitat of wild animals. As a result, all over the world people need to stay confined in their homes for several weeks. Perhaps experiencing this type of captivity, or confinement if you prefer, permits some people to get some perspective and helps them to understand what wild animals feel and how they suffer in captivity (all their life).

When reading the news these days, it seems like the Covid-19 virus only has an impact on human lives, but we have to admit, at MONA we are struggling as well. We had to halt all our rescue and education activities at the sanctuary. Due to the extremely high probability of Covid-19 being as fatal for chimpanzees as it is for humans and in order to guarantee their protection, we quarantined our sanctuary early on, even earlier than our government decided to act.

We isolated a dedicated small team of care-givers and volunteers at the sanctuary, shutting them off from the outside world. But they are not completely alone, as a second support team makes sure they have everything they need to take good care of our primates at all times (while respecting strict health and security protocols).

 Although it is a great relief that everyone at the sanctuary is safe and sound, there is still no time to relax. Within these last few weeks we had to tackle two cases

of footage of primates being used for advertisements and entertainment in the media, still receiving information of primates in need and also having to ensure we find the funding to support our activities. During this global crisis we saw donations decrease and other funding resources significantly reduced. However there is also some positive news. We also found new friends and support, for example from the CCA Foundation selecting us for the Phyllis Mary Trust grant.

And with so many people confined at home, although they might struggle and are not able to support us economically, they have much more time to read our stories and reflect. Hopefully using this time to “become part of the solution”.

If you also have some spare time and want to hear and see more about what we do, feel free to visit our website at: https://fundacionmona.org

And if you want to adopt one of our chimpanzees or support us with a donation to help us during these difficult times, you can be sure that every penny spent will be used to make this world a better place for animals to live in. ֍

Dietmar Crialsham works in the department for rescue and rehabilitation at the MONA Primate Rescue Centre in Spain. They have just been awarded a £1,000 grant by CCA’s Phyllis Mary Trust. Here Dietmar describes MONA’s work and the particular difficulties experienced during the Covid-19 lockdown.

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