Last few weeks

The last 2 months have been a really amazing and difficult experience for me. Settling into a new job and role is a challenge at the best of times, let alone trying to settle into a new country, culture and way of life.


My career experience to date has mostly been primate based alongside the native wildlife of the UK so it has been really interesting to start gaining experience with new species such as lion and cheetah.

The first few weeks were a challenge with the predictable adjustment to the bacteria and viruses here and ended up having to go to a clinic to find out I had simultaneously got bacterial infections in my bowels and chest! Having lost 6 kg in 3 weeks I was feeling pretty dreadful but a course of antibiotics later and I was back to normal and fighting strong.


I am currently looking after a young owl that was found in Addis in someone’s back garden and we are actually sharing a room in the city as there aren’t any other options away from the sanctuary itself. I will update about this with some photographs soon.


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New Job in Ethiopia

It has been a couple of years since I last used this blog properly but I am back in action! I have started a new job with Born Free in Ethiopia. I am the Wildlife Care Manager and as such am in charge of the welfare of the animals held at the sanctuary, including prepping them for potential release. I also aid in the rescue of wildlife in need which can vary wildlife from an African lion to a tortoise. I am working with lions, cheetah, hyena, a variety of primates, antelope and birds of prey. The site is based in Holeta just outside of Addis Ababa and also acts as a wildlife refuge to native wildlife living in the area such as leopard, a healthy population or hyena, warthog and abundant array of birds.

20841951_10154979351302874_109471266533646981_n (1)Getting to know some of our resident hyenas

I will be updating this blog with tales from my adventures here! Stay tuned!

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The truth behind my lion selfie

According to Jess

As I apprehensively shuffled into the caged box, my gut clenched and my heart stopped…I immediately knew that I was in a bad place, and I desperately wanted to run straight back out and find comfort in my friends hiding out in the car.

But something stronger told me to carry on, something told me that by enduring the next hour in this awful place I could find hope to make a positive change to the hell that I currently found myself encased in.

After an hour of enduring the heartbreaking pain of filming undercover, I spent the next hour crying and shaking at what I had seen. I was both so angry and upset that I couldn’t decide between having an emotional breakdown and marching straight back into the building to punch the guy in the face. And that’s when I decided that I could try my absolute hardest…

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Exotic Pet Trade Day 2014

To clarify, the below event is designed to discuss the implications for welfare and conservation involved in the keeping of exotic pets. It is not in support of the exotic pet trade.

Exotic Pet Trade Day 2014

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Wild Futures Celebrates 50th Year

We are celebrating our 50th year of rescuing monkeys from the primate pet trade here in the UK. What started with Woolly Monkeys at The Monkey Sanctuary back in 1964 has evolved into an international Charity, Wild Futures, which still rescues monkeys from the primate pet trade with it’s flagship project, The Monkey Sanctuary. We also support primate conservation projects all around the world from North Africa to South America.

As part of our 50th anniversary we are seeking to boost our social media followers on facebook and Twitter.      

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Win a Monkey Necklace

To celebrate reaching 8000 fantastic Facebook fans, we’re giving away this beautiful, exclusively designed, silver monkey necklace!

To be in with a chance of winning…
LIKE and SHARE this photo on our Facebook page. 
LIKE our Facebook page Wild Futures

Winner announced Monday 12th May- Good Luck! 


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Primates Decline in 100 Years

The Primate Pet Trade plays a key role in the massive decline of primate species all around the world, follow Wild Futures work on their facebook page trying to stop the primate pet trade and supporting primate conservation projects around the world. If you are interested in networking or sharing educational resources/literature then please email me on


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Volunteers Urgently Needed

Volunteer at The Monkey Sanctuary, a project of Wild Futures (reg. charity no. 1102532). At The Monkey Sanctuary, we provide a life-long home to a group of woolly monkeys, and a growing number of rescued capuchin monkeys and Barbary macaques. As a volunteer you will help us to clean out monkey enclosures, prepare food and enrichment items for the monkeys, assist in activity and education workshops with young visitors to the Sanctuary, and help in our vegetarian café, as well as other maintenance tasks during the winter months. All the while you get the chance to observe 3 beautiful primate species in a tranquil Cornwall setting and make a real difference by helping us spread the message that primates live best in the wild and not as pets, as well as encouraging visitors to consider sustainable ways of living. We host volunteers in shared dormitories for 2-5 week placements all year round, and ask for a donation of £40 per week to help us cover the costs of food and accommodation. For more information please email Paul

We are in particular need over the next 2-3 months.

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Mirlo guest blog

 Mirlo Guest Blog:

We’re looking for 10,000 mirlos to change the world – can you lend a hand?

  • Mirlo Positive Nature’s mobilisation campaign aimed at leaving a positive footprint in local environments gets under way. The objective of the first project is to restore the Corona Forestal Natural Park in Tenerife.



Here in Mirlo Positive Nature we’ve just started a mobilisation campaign designed to leave a positive footprint in the local environments in which we carry out our projects. We’ve begun looking for 10,000 mirlos, that’s 10,000 superheroes who want to be part of this initiative and who want to spread the word about this movement.

The first Mirlo experience focuses on the Corona Forestal Natural Park in La Orotava (Tenerife), just on the outskirts of the Teide National Park. We intend restoring 71 acres of Canary Island pine trees in this area.

Why 71 acres?

Maybe that strikes you as not enough? That may well be so, but in Mirlo we want to build things up gradually. All the same, it’s not just a figure we plucked out of the air. This is the area that is covered by the agreement we signed a few months ago with the “Cabildo” of Tenerife, the island’s local government, to promote the recovery of those parts of the Islands where the native Canary Island pine tree was replaced by radiata pine trees around the middle of the last century, a species which proves much more fragile when the rainstorms come, and which as a result is much less able to adapt to the local environment. We tell you all the whys and wherefores in this video:

It’s just a beginning and in fact it’s estimated that some 222,395 acres (that’s 347 square miles!) need to be restored in the Canary Islands. Our goal here in Mirlo is to begin to generate positive footprint, bearing in mind that the forests in the Canaries barely compensate 10% of the CO2 footprint that is generated on the islands. So these 71 acres are a start in the right direction, a way to make the pendulum start swinging the other way.

That’s why just by telling people you’re a mirlo helps to spread the message about the change we so badly need and the way of life we believe in: “live and leave a positive footprint on the world”. Can you imagine getting involved in planting a surface area the size of some 29 football pitches? We’re talking about 43,500 trees!

What can you do to help?

If what we’re trying to do strikes you as interesting, if you believe that we need to do things in a different, more sustainable and collaborative way, then we’d like to ask you to give us some space in your blog. Spread the word about this campaign designed to mobilise 10,000 superheroes, the 10,000 mirlos we want to start changing the world with.

We’ve also prepared some really cool posters that you can print off and some banners that you can post in your blog or on your website. You can download them from Will you help us to spread our wings?

It just takes 3 simple steps

The campaign has been designed to let you leave a positive footprint in just three steps – visit

  1. You decide how much you want to contribute. First of all, you have to visit to buy a Positive Nature pack. It’s up to you how much you want to contribute and the aspect of your day to day life that you’d like to transform into a positive footprint.
  2. Spread the word about the campaign. We’d really be grateful if you would share the campaign’s micro site (, so that what we’re doing can get the attention of new superheroes. Add it to your social networks or tell your friends about it, that way the information will spread far and wide.
  3. Help us to start up the band. Persuade three friends to become mirlos and to join our chain by taking part in this campaign. Call them on the phone, send them an email or a WhatsApp, have a relaxing cup of coffee with them in the… whatever you think will work best!


About Mirlo

Mirlo Positive Nature is a company that was set up in Madrid in 2013 and is based in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Its objective is to enlist the help of the public to undertake genuine environmental projects which make a positive impact on nature and society. Mirlo Positive Nature supports the seventh of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that the 189 member states of the United Nations agreed to attain by the year 2015: ensure environmental sustainability.

Mirlo’s aim is to achieve this sustainability by generating positive ecological footprints. The first project to be launched on its Internet platform has to do with recovering the original forests of the Corona Forestal on the island of Tenerife, specifically the forests that cover the peaks of the Orotava Valley.

Mirlo is a company with a revolutionary business model which is all about leaving a positive footprint in the environments in which it undertakes its projects. That’s why transparency is an essential part of what we do and how we do it.  We have decided that 70% of whatever amount you donate will go straight to the Corona Forestal project. That means that we have to run Mirlo with the remaining 30% and that can only happen if we sell enough Positive Nature packs.


Press contact

Eduardo Martínez  

More information:

Mirlo Project:

Corona Forestal Project:

Social networks:

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Volunteer Experience at Wild Futures

                                                                Volunteer Experience at Wild Futures

                                                   By Rosie Bowman

I arrived at The Monkey Sanctuary to complete a 5-week work placement as part of my degree, not knowing what to expect and definitely underestimating the impact and value of the experience. For some misguided reason I was surprised to meet such a welcoming ‘family’ of work mates, with no apparent age or sex bias. As an animal lover, or someone particularly interested in primates, you’re almost guaranteed to get along with the people here. The keepers and volunteers bring to the table a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and experience, which makes for interesting conservation and debates; the opportunity to make a good impression on the sanctuary staff should not be nervously anticipated but embraced. Outside of working hours, there is no rift between volunteers and keepers, which affirms the friendly environment and makes for a close-knit community in which you feel entwined almost immediately.

The social life and communal living is in all honesty what you make of it; there is nothing smothering about it, but you get what you give (as always in life!). I’d hasten to add how approachable all the keepers are and how valuable it is to use the opportunity to get to know these people and learn from them- I’ve learnt more here than I would usually do sat in lectures at University, about not only primates, but all wildlife conservation, the environment and sustainable living. Communal living obviously has its challenges, and there is some amazing scenery to immerse yourself in if there is a need for personal space at any time!

Ollie the Woolly Monkey enjoying some enrichment

Ollie the Woolly Monkey enjoying some enrichment

The food here challenges misconceptions about the vegan diet and I’d encourage anyone to give it a go- the café’s own food is delicious and there’s a fair share of cooking for yourself and being cooked for. Volunteer cook nights are a great way to make friendships, especially so if you don’t know what you’re doing with the ingredients at hand!

What’s refreshing is that there is nothing hypocritical in the practice here in terms of the sanctuary’s ethos revolved around rehabilitation; it is in fact pleasing to appreciate the species barrier, which isn’t respected in the same manner in different environments. At the same time, whilst volunteers experience no direct interaction with the monkeys, it’s hard not to notice some special characters in the groups we work alongside, and to enjoy observing some fascinating behaviours even if it’s out of the corner of your eye! It’s easy to understand and respect the rules concerning the barrier between humans and the monkeys as soon as you arrive, and this realisation has challenged my views on captive animal husbandry and care outside the sanctuary environment.

DSC_0108Volunteers and keepers unwinding after a days work by a bonfire on the beach

Volunteer’s routine is in no way menial, in that it is shared with the keepers and is clearly contributing to the end product; a functioning sanctuary, which makes even seemingly tedious tasks rewarding. What’s even more satisfying is if you can witness the completion of your work, whether that’s observing the monkeys enjoying the food or enrichment you make for them or hearing positive visitor feedback. As with any workplace, the more reliable you show yourself to be the more responsibilities you are given, and although independent work is a big part of the duties here, there is always someone around willing to give advice and direction if needs be. The fact that many of the keepers started off as volunteers makes them very understanding.

No day is the same, and I believe that regardless of how long you spend here it is a continual learning process. Every day during routine you see new faces, hear new vocalisations and witness different socialisation in the monkey groups you work alongside, which always keeps things interesting. You’re bound to have a favourite monkey by the end of your first week here!

Looe; the nearest town with some beautiful views

I’m coming away from here a different person, after enjoying a one-off experience made special by the people and the animals I’ve worked with, that could not be replicated anywhere else. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend volunteering here to anyone with an appreciation for nature and all within it, and in a way I wish the experience didn’t have to come to an end.

Volunteer Testimonials;

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working at the santuary; it’s allowed me to gain an insight into how theses animals are cared for on a daily basis, and give me a new perspective on animals being kept in captivity. The best part of the experience is the people who I have met and worked with, but also being able to work with the monkeys and learn more about each individual and being given independence.” Luke, UK, aged 20

“I was nervous about coming to Wild Futures in the beginning but I have met some great people and learnt more in two weeks than I have a year and a half at the previous sanctuary I volunteered for! This is an experience I will never forget and hope to return later this year!!” Katharine, Poland, aged 34

“I was very nervous about coming to the monkey sanctuary, especially as I’ve come all the way from Australia and if I didn’t like it, or the people, then I was going to be stuck here for a long time. But, I have been very pleasantly surprised at how amazing and welcoming this place is. The work can be hard, but is rewarding and I feel that the time is already going too quickly. Even though I have only been here for two weeks so far, I feel like coming here is going to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.” Hannah, Tasmania, aged 21

“For me volunteering at the Monkey Sanctuary was a way to experience something new and explore my career options after a degree in Biology. Nonetheless, being here for just a couple of days has made me realise that there is much more to it. Meeting people of the same frame of mind is a great part of it. At the same time I now see how rewarding it feels to offer my time and skills towards a cause I deeply support.” Makrina, Greece, aged  19

 “When I arrived at The Monkey Sanctuary I wasn’t really too sure what to expect, but after staying here a month I would certainly recommend the sanctuary to everyone. I’ve gained so much experience in the cleaning and husbandry of primates and have met such a great range of people who I will certainly keep in contact with.” Georgie, UK, aged 19

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