Benny & Nia, a pair of young white-throated guenons, arrived at Monkey World in Dorset this week after being rescued from Lebanon.
The incredibly rare monkeys were confiscated by Lebanese authorities at Beiruit airport after being smuggled from Accra, Ghana.
White-throated guenons are a species vulnerable to extinction and native only to small regions of rainforests in Benin and West Nigeria. Monkey World now becomes the only centre outside this region where white-throated guenons can be found.
Lebanese authorities have been cracking down on the illegal wildlife trade and joined CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) in 2013. Dr Alison Cronin, director of Monkey World, travelled to Beirut to work with Animals Lebanon, who cared for Benny & Nia until arrangements could be made to move them to Monkey World for specialist care and rehabilitation.
Dr Cronin said “I am pleased that Monkey World was able to assist the Lebanese government and Animals Lebanon to rescue and rehabilitate these incredibly rare monkeys. Monkey World exists to assist governments around the globe to stop the smuggling of primates from the wild. Lebanese authorities are putting a lot of effort into protecting endangered species, and organisations such as Monkey World and Animals Lebanon are here to support their efforts by caring for the refugees of the black market trade.
“As tragic as their story is, Benny & Nia are the lucky ones that have survived and made it to a safe home. Most die during the hunt or when they are torn away from their families and forest homes to be smuggled across the globe. We cannot give them their natural lives back again, but I am pleased to see that they are enjoying their new home and enclosure and their sad story will hopefully remind people about how important it is to protect endangered species and the habitats which they come from.”
All the signs are good that Benny & Nia the white-throated guenons will make a full recovery after their harrowing ordeal.
Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre relies upon visitor entry fees and donations in order to continue its work in the rescue and rehabilitation of primates worldwide. For further details and to visit go to www.monkeyworld.org.