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Wednesday, January 27, 1999 Published at 19:12 GMT


UK

Abused chimp's new life

Trudy the chimp: Picture from Monkey World

Trudy, the chimp at the centre of the Mary Chipperfield animal cruelty case, is enjoying a new life at a sanctuary for abused animals, unaware of the legal wrangle over her future.

The world famous circus trainer has been convicted of kicking and beating the animal, which was made to sleep in a tiny box.

The 18-month-old was seized by police from the Chipperfield's farm in Hampshire and taken to Monkey World, near Wareham, Dorset, in April last year.

But Chipperfield is applying to take the animal back.

Trudy now has space to run and play in, and a large indoor living area.

She spends her time as part of a family of chimps, which adopted her shortly after she arrived.

Family life

Jim Cronin, 46, who runs the 40-acre sanctuary with his wife Alison, said: "In her mind, Trudy now has a mother, brothers, sisters and aunts and uncles - just like she would in the wild.

"She has two acres to live in and an indoor house seven metres high and 20m long. It is wonderful for her. She is the centre of attention."

The new family life is a far cry from the conditions at her former home, described in court as a climate of "fear and despair" by one expert in primates.

"It's a revelation for Trudy. When she first came here she had almost no chimp-like behaviour," said Mr Cronin, who has worked with private zoo owner John Aspinall.

'Chance to be a chimp'

"When abused chimps are back with a group of their own the change that comes over them is quite remarkable. That's what has happened with Trudy.

"She has got the chance to be a chimp and not the animal we saw who was beaten, kicked, terrified and made to sleep on her own."

A decision on Trudy's future will be made at the same time as Cawley - and her husband Roger - are sentenced on 9 April.

Monkey World gives new homes to primates which have been abused, seized by Customs and Excise officials, or were being kept as illegal pets.

The sanctuary - which is open to the public - has 130 primates, including chimps, orang-utans, gibbons and lemurs.



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