Former Mole Hall Wildlife Park chimp Joey dies
AN elderly chimp, who was a firm favourite with visitors to Mole Hall Wildlife Park in Widdington for many years, has died in Wales.
Popular chimps Joey and Tubman had to be moved from their home near Saffron Walden in March 2009 when the wildlife park closed.
It has now been reported that Joey, who was about 40-years-old, has died at his new home in the Brecon Beacons, near Swansea.
However, staff at the Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary have remained tight-lipped about what has happened and are refusing to comment until after a post mortem.
The Reporter understands that an autopsy is due to be carried out on Thursday and a press release will be issued early next week.
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Former zookeeper at Mole Hall Wildlife Park, Abby Stamford, said she was devastated when she heard the news.
“I looked after Joey and Tubman for 10 years and I’m heartbroken about what has happened – they were like children to me,” she said.
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“I’m really disappointed with the way the situation has been handled. I rang the curator of Mole Hall and he hadn’t even been informed about Joey’s death.
“That fact that the Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary are keeping quiet is really upsetting for everyone who knew Joey. It would be nice to know when he died – I have heard that it was at the end of May, but we don’t know for sure.”
Tubman, who has lived side-by-side with Joey, pictured, for almost 30 years, is still living at the Welsh monkey sanctuary in a purpose-built primate enclosure.
Primate charity Mona-UK had wanted to move the chimps to a sanctuary in Spain, but it was decided to keep them in the UK to avoid the stress of international travel.