Charity land sale forces monkeys to move out

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 May 2012



Maria Fountain

FOUR orphaned monkeys are due to be evicted from their home at a Somerset charity after almost 10 years.

Maria and Colin Fountain moved their hand-reared pets from Oxfordshire to Secret World Wildlife Rescue centre, in East Huntspill, in 2003 after an invitation from the centre’s founder Pauline Kidner.

The couple said they spent several thousand pounds on building a house and enclosure for the 22-year-old Saki monkey Jethro and three spider monkeys Hickory, aged 20, Flint, aged 13 and 12-year-old Pumpkin.

Maria, aged 57, of Catherine Street in East Huntspill, said: “In November we were given notice by Pauline’s son Simon Kidner to remove our monkeys from Secret World as the trustees of the charity are intending to purchase the land and are unable to do so with monkey tenants. We were told it is not in the best interests of the charity for the monkeys to stay at Secret World.”

The couple said they have asked the trustees to meet with them three times but have been refused each time.

Initially they were given until the end of March to find a new home for their monkeys, but this has now been extended until the end of this month.

Colin, aged 65, said: “At this point the electricity supply will be disconnected to the monkey’s enclosure depriving them of heat, light and power to the electric fence which keeps them in.”

Maria said: “I have hand-reared these monkeys from birth, each one taking two years to become independent so obviously we have become very attached and bonded.

“They have very specific requirements and are certainly not pets.

“We have searched for accommodation but we are yet to find a suitable home which fits their needs. It will put the monkeys under great stress and they have been a great asset to Secret World.”

Pauline Kidner said: “As friends – myself, husband Derek and Simon first allowed them to keep their monkeys on site. This was possible while we owned the land but now the charity is purchasing the site.

“The charity owning the land will give long-term sustainability for Secret World but this means we can sadly no longer accommodate them.

“We have even made contact with someone who has kindly offered a home to the monkeys but this was sadly declined by Colin and Maria.

“We would have liked to continue to provide them a home but are unable to sell the centre to the charity with tenants in place.

In the interests of the greater good of vast numbers of wildlife there is simply no other alternative.”

The Fountains are currently trying to raise funds for a new enclosure and trying to find a new site to house them.

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