Top 10 best monkey sanctuary around the world

2015.10.10 18:48

At this article I show those sanctuaries, what I think the best (so this is a subjective list), looking for the using of enrichment items (originally for Apes and monkeys and the human kid toys too), the enclosures and environment together, the feeding variety and diversity, the financial possibility and of course the happiness and satisfaction of the Creatures! More time one-one sanctuary is larger, more famous etc., but a smaller organization with low budget, donations is taking more in its poor circumstance and with not-paid volunteers, therefore I had given better ranking for them. I believe you know more sanctuary yet, but I am sure will show new, interesting, smaller but perfect places too in this article.


+1 Monkey World (Dorset, UK)


Monkey World - Ape Rescue Centre is a 65 acre park in the heart of the Dorset countryside. It's home to over 250 rescued monkeys and apes of 20 different species.

The MW set up in 1987 by Jim Cronin keeper (who is famous from Animal Planet) with assistance from Jeremy Keeling, later operated by both Jim and his wife Alison (zoologist) with a team of care staff led by Jeremy. Monkey World was originally intended to provide a home for abused Chimpanzees, but nowadays it is home to many different species of primates.


Left side: Bulu Mata (Photo: Monkey World)


Monkey World works with foreign governments to stop the illegal smuggling of wild primates. In 2008 Jim and Alison saved 88 Capuchin monkeys (NWM) from a laboratory in Santiago, Chile, where some of the animals had been kept in solitary cages for up to 20 years. MW rescued more Bornean- and Sumatran Orang-utan, Chimps, macaques from laboratories and zoo around the world, the Hungarian, 1 year-old orphan Sumatran Orang-utan boy from Budapest Zoo, Bulu Mata also lives at the MW.

On 17 March 2007 Jim Cronin died in a New York hospital aged 55 years from liver cancer, but his widow Alison Cronin and the staff at Monkey World have continued to run the centre, that is more open for the public by special events (e.g. wedding) too.


Hananya is playing (Photo: Monkey World)





10. Nyaru Menteng Rescue Center (Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia)


The Nyaru Menteng Centre is situated 28km outside of Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan. It is located within the boundaries of the Nyaru Menteng Arboretum, a 62.5 ha lowland peat-swamp forest ecosystem, founded in 1988 by the Ministry of Forestry Regional office of Central Kalimantan.


Going to the "Forest School"


The aim of the Nyaru Menteng Care Centre is to rescue Orang-utans with lead by Lone Drøscher Nielsen, that have been displaced from their habitat or held in captivity as illegal pets, and through quarantine and half-way housing release them back into their natural environment.

The clinic, quarantine facilities and socialisation cages are inside a fenced area of 1.5 ha, while mid-way housing is at the farthest end of the Arboretum. The project has good forest for the smallest orang-utans and is undisturbed by visitors. The larger orang-utans are situated on half-way islands in the Rungan River, located 8 kilometres away by road. On these islands the orang-utans are free to roam and learn important forest survival skills.


The orphan baby Orang-utan, Meryl (Photo: Save The Orangutan)


The Nyaru Menteng Centre employs more than 150 people including vets, technicians and orang-utan babysitters, ca. 650 orang-utans live at Nyaru Menteng. Approximately 100 orang-utans should be released in newly secured forest within the next 12 months. These orang-utans will have new transmitters inserted under their skin between the shoulder blades so they can be tracked and their progress in the forest can be monitored.





9. Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary (Sabah, Malaysia)


This place is the champion of liberty. The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary offers a perfect Proboscis monkeys observation spot for any tourist who wants to have a closer look at these very special monkeys. Proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) are found only on Borneo. Named for their long bulbous noses, proboscis monkeys are potbellied and red-faced.


The fine pancake and the large family


A local palm-plantation owner has created a private proboscis monkey sanctuary, attracting the floppy-conked locals with sugar-free pancakes at 11.40 am and 4.30 pm feeding. (A third feeding at 2.30 pm often occurs during a ranger-led hike deeper in the sanctuary.)

The Sanctuary is located at the centre of the mangrove forest along the coastal land near Samawang Village at Labuk Bay, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.

An estimated 300 wild monkeys live in the 6 square km reserve. Animals in the reserve generally steer clear of human contact, except for those mischievous macaques, who just love snacks and pancake. The proboscis monkeys are enticed onto the main viewing platform so tourists can get better pictures. (The sanctuary offers package trips, e.g. half-day visit with transfers, overnight trips with meals, accommodation and a night walk.)


Proboscis monkeys at the Sanctuary


The Proboscis monkeys both young and adult leaping from tree to tree in total free and eventually down to feed on young leaves and plants. The leaping act is superb, fast, steady, stylish and perfect.





8. Lola ya Bonobo (Kinshasa, Congo/DRC)


Lola ya Bonobo – means “paradise for bonobos” in Lingala language – founded by Claudine André in 1994. Is the world's only sanctuary for orphaned bonobos. Since 2002, the sanctuary has been located at Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Lola ya Bonobo is home to 60 bonobos who live in 30 hectares of primary forest. This is the largest captive population of bonobos in the world.


Baby Bonobo (Photo: Lola ya Bonobo)


The bushmeat trade in Congo sees hundreds of bonobos killed each year for meat and the infants are sold as pets. When confiscated, these infant bonobos are taken to Lola ya Bonobo. They begin life at the sanctuary with close care from a substitute human mother, but are usually quickly ready to be integrated into a peer group and shortly afterwards into one of the large mixed-age social groups.

Although the bonobos are captive, they live in an environment similar to the wild. They can forage among dozens of edible plants and fruiting trees, compete for mating opportunities, and learn to avoid dangers such as stepping on venomous snakes just as they would in the wild. As a result, the bonobos at Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary, living in their forested microcosm, show all the naturally occurring behaviours observed in wild bonobos.


High emotional intelligence between the infant bonobos (Photo: Lola ya Bonobo)


The sanctuary also protects wild bonobos because it allows for the enforcement of domestic and international conservation laws aimed at preventing the trade in live bonobos. The sanctuary also acts as a mouthpiece for conservation efforts in DRC by educating 30.000 Congolese visitors each year about the value of Congo's natural history, in particular the bonobo – their unique Congolese inheritance. The release of bonobos happen at Ekolo ya Bonobo.





7. C.A.R.E. (Phalaborwa, South Africa)

The non-profit C.A.R.E. Baboon Sanctuary’s main focus is the rehabilitation of chacma baboons was established in 1989 by Rita Miljo, as a sanctuary for all indigenous wildlife of South Africa. The C.A.R.E. is bordering the greater Kruger Park area. Most of their rescue cases involve orphan babies which have been the result of their mother being killed by hunting, poisoning, traffic accidents and many more heartbreaking incidents. They rescue baboons of all ages and integrate them into troops from all backgrounds such as the pet trade. Most of the baboons which they rescue have been subject to physical or emotional abuse by humans and arrive often traumatised and dehydrated.



The Baboon Sanctuary currently houses over 400 baboons and is the largest sanctuary in Southern Africa for orphaned, injured, abused or abandoned baboons. 

(Despite being listed as a CITES Appendix II “threatened” species, baboons are offered no protection under the law in South Africa. Baboons are shot and poisoned by farmers, illegally captured for sale as pets, utilized by traditional doctors for "medicinal" purposes, and vulnerable to such hazards as power lines, pylons, veld fires, habitat destruction and road accidents.)


Orphan infant Chacma baboons (Photo: C.A.R.E.)


The C.A.R.E. has been a pioneer in primate care, and its rehabilitation program has gained respect within scientific and animal behavioural communities. C.A.R.E.'s success in rehabilitating hand-reared primates and releasing fully formed troops back into the wild. More film about it on Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. 

Although the baboon isn't a glamorous species like the rhino or cheetah, the C.A.R.E. team work hard to ensure their long-term survival before it joins the ranks of chimpanzee and mountain gorilla as endangered species.    





6. Frisky's Wildlife & Primate Sanctuary, Inc. (Woodstock, USA)


Frisky's is a non-profit Wildlife Rehabilitation center located in Howard County, MD. They take in injured, orphaned, abandoned or displaced wildlife. At Frisky's everybody is volunteer from the founder till the keepers, therefore absolutely unique organization.


Jackie with one of her babies that she loves to carry around. She was just starting to wake up from the sedation at 20th, November 2014.

She passed away some days later. (Photos: Frisky's Sanctuary)


The Frisky's is a rescue center and home to Primates and other small exotics who have been kept as Pets and are no longer able to live with their owners. Monkey’s are not meant to be pets, but unfortunately there are brokers who continue to sell primates even though it is illegal in many states to have a monkey as a pet. They become too difficult and demanding for most to handle and end up having to find another home. They provide a safe home with love and enrichments for those primates who end up without a home and have been imprinted by human care. These animals live the remainder of their lives at Frisky’s and are never adopted out.


Monkeys at Frisky's in October, 2011.


Their mission is to care for animals until they can find them a loving home with someone who has had species related experience and is willing to make a lifetime commitment. Often, the psychological damage that has been done to these pets because of neglect from previous owners is our biggest challenge.


Capuchin "pink day"



Facebook: with the name of sanctuary by closed group


5. Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary (Berkshire, UK)


Here live the lovely and really “good boy” Tilin (rescued from Bolivia, who had taken a great journey to the better and happier life) and her mate, Tina, the Hamadryas Baboon couple.


The wonderful Tilin and Tina (Photo: Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary)


Everything they have at the Sanctuary is the legacy of Oscar their first, much-loved monkey.  Sharon was working as zookeeper at Windsor Safari Park (now Legoland™), she spotted a baby monkey - a newly born, crab-eating macaque - being attacked by the rest of the troop. With the help of another keeper, a broom and a hosepipe, she saved the baby's life. Its mother was too old to defend the baby and herself, so they offered to take on the role of parents and took him home with them in 1984. They rescued another monkey too, called Wingnut as a companion for Oscar and things sort of grew from there. Oscar died in 1998.


Betty, Boo and Baloo are playing (Photo: Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary)


They’ve been working with primates for more than 30 years. Over that time the Sanctuary has rescued more than 50 monkeys, mostly through referrals from national and international agencies. Jimmy has also been personally involved in re-homing a further 50+ monkeys to other sanctuaries around the UK. The Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary work closely with groups around the world and support a number of projects focused on conservation, rehabilitation and education, also built mutually beneficial partnerships with a number of international agencies, in particular, the AAP Foundation in the Netherlands ( and ADI (Animal Defenders International: based in the UK and USA. In May 2011 Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary became an inaugural member of the newly formed European Alliance for Rescue Centres and Sanctuaries ( Alongside 14 other like minded animal organisations, Lakeview signed an agreement to participate fully in the development of EARS and to work collaboratively to achieve the goals set. The EARS mission is “To represent rescue centres and sanctuaries across Europe and enable them to work together to achieve mutual animal welfare and conversation goals.”


Minky's 7th birthday (Photo: Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary)





4. Mindy's Memory Primate Sanctuary, Inc. (Newcastle, USA)


Lot of male and female, old or younger, Rhesus-, Long-tailed-, Pig-tailed Macaques', Vervets, Patas monkeys' and Capuchins' home is the Mindy's Memory Primate Sanctuary (MMPS) that is a 501-(c)-3 non-profit sanctuary founded 22 years ago with the sole mission of providing the highest level of care to monkeys in need of refuge.

MMPS has given a permanent refuge to hundreds of monkeys from the pet trade or provided retirement for monkeys used in medical research. The primate pet trade causes untold suffering for countless monkeys who are torn from their loving mothers from a young age and who grow up to find themselves ill-equipped to live with humans.


Feeding time at the MMPS (Photo: MMPS)


There are over 100.000 monkeys in research labs in the USA and many find themselves at the conclusion of studies with nowhere to go. (Many of these individuals are then killed, not as part of any experimental study but rather because there are so few sanctuaries available to take them, and those that do exist are all filled to capacity.)

As the society becomes more serious in our responsibilities to animals, there is an increasing need for facilities like Mindy’s Memory to be there to provide a second chance for these sensitive and intelligent beings to live out the remainder of their lives in a natural environment with loving companions – wrote MMPS on their homepage.


Bugg and Hopper (Photo: MMPS)


To provide a healthy, safe and humane environment for any monkeys needing care and treatment who are either former pets, from closing zoos or retired from research. The monkeys of Mindy's live in an almost natural environments with in- and outdoor enclosures, psychological enrichment, a daily diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, and any necessary medical care. They work hard to develop a positive relationship with universities who wish to retire monkeys to Mindy's Memory care, plus educate the public and promote the humane treatment and care of non-human primates.


Photo: MMPS





3. Save The Chimps (Fort Pierce, USA)


The largest Chimpanzee Sanctuary in the World. Save The Chimps is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing permanent sanctuary for the lifelong care of chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, the entertainment industry and the pet trade. Established in 1997, the history of this amazing organization has recently been published in Opening Doors: Carol Noon and Her Dream to Save the Chimps. Previously I published about Carol Noon at “Nők a majmokért II. / Women for Monkeys” article:


Islands of Save The Chimps, Carol's deam and reality


Every day the staff and volunteers of Save the Chimps provide care to more than 250 chimpanzees. Like us in so many ways, these individuals have personalities and unique experiences that make them each very special. If you would like to support a sanctuary (as private person or organization, company), I believe, the Save The Chimps is the best choice, because lot of Chimp soul live here, so more time, when realization a party, toys-enrichments for everybody and the fine (dessert) foods to all of Chimpanzees.


Big papa Ron and the little Melody (Photo: Save The Chimps)


The Save The Chimps 150 acre property includes 12 three-acre islands. These facilities require regular maintenance and security measures that can withstand the strength of their residents and the heat and humidity of their location.


Henrietta began to have a heartwarming affinity to a particular piece of enrichment STC placed in her indoor enclosure.

A little baby doll has become her constant companion. (Photo: Save The Chimps)





2. Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (Cle Elum, USA)


The Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW) is 7 Chimps' home: the boss Jamie, the beautiful Jody, the old lady Negra, the good friend and little Missy and Annie, the troll- and Dora doll fan Foxie and the one male Burrito, who loves, loves, loves to eat! They travelled across the country from a laboratory in Pennsylvania and arrived at CSNW on June 13, 2008. For the majority of their lives, they were used by the biomedical research industry for hepatitis vaccine trials and to breed more chimpanzees for biomedical research. For the last several years, before coming to sanctuary, the chimpanzees were housed in a windowless basement of a laboratory with no access to the outdoors.


The super-smart Jamie, the boss at the CSNW (Photo: CSNW)


In May of 2002, Keith LaChappelle read an article in Discover magazine about the lives of chimpanzees in biomedical research and the need for sanctuaries to care for them once they were released. He wondered if he could apply his professional skills of managing major construction projects to build a sanctuary home for chimpanzees, so spoke to many people and travelled to several sanctuaries learning everything. On one of these trips he met Billy Jo chimpanzee who transformed Keith's desire to "do something" into the realization that he had found his calling. Keith has worked diligently not only to build the physical structures for the sanctuary, but also to build a sustainable non-profit that will carry the organization into the future.


Party at the CSNW


Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest is located on a 26 acre farm in the Cascade mountains, 90 miles east of Seattle. CSNW is one of only a handful of sanctuaries in the country that cares for chimpanzees, that was founded in 2003 to provide sanctuary for chimpanzees discarded from the entertainment and biomedical testing industries.


The beautiful Jody, the princess of blankets and nest (Photo: CSNW)


Most of the females were also used as breeders during their years in labs and their babies were taken from them shortly after birth. Now 7 chimpanzees enjoy a rich social life in an exciting indoor and outdoor environment in “Hope, Love, Home... Sanctuary”.





1. Primarily Primates (San Antonio, USA)


Where the gibbon sits in her “car”, Lennie, the Patas monkey plays basketball, the Chimps can read, Kayla, the long-tailed macaque has own pink cabrio, moreover, Buck the Chimpanzee boy loves the Barbie doll too, especially to dress and undress. The food are fine, lot of time creative, the enclosures are colourful, always are any new toys, enrichment items, birthday-, Xmas- and other parties and all of the life is fun and games every day.


The life is game... (Photo: Primarily Primates)


Primarily Primates Incorporated has been founded in 1978., is a non-profit sanctuary in Bexar County, Texas that operates to house, protect and rehabilitate various non-native animals. The private refuge currently houses 400 non-human animals and 43 Chimpanzees (and birds). As the name implies, focuses primarily on caring for Apes and monkeys. 


Vehicle for the monkeys! (Photo: Primarily Primates)


Many are cast-offs from the pet trade and biomedical research institutions. Individuals who have been accepted into the refuge include e.g. a Chimpanzees once used in space training and testing protocols by the United States Air Force. The Primarily Primates provides lifetime care and housing for homeless, abused and abandoned animals, mostly primates, saving them from death or continued exploitation.  They are not open to the general public and do not breed, sell, trade or use animals commercially.


Buck and the Barbie doll (Photo: Primarily Primates)