In Memoriam: Jim Cronin

Jim Cronin from MonkeyWorldI was very sorry to hear from my Mum last night that ape rescue campaigner Jim Cronin died this week. Jim was the co-founder of Dorset’s Monkey World with his wife Alison, an internationally renowned ape rescue centre I’ve visited twice with my wife.

His death at just 55 from liver cancer has left us both shocked and saddened. Even though we never met him, we’ve followed the work of Monkey World through the TV series, as the team there worked with governments around the world to halt the illegal smuggling of apes out of Africa and Asia.

Jim was a tireless campaigner, firmly establishing himself as an international expert in the rescue and rehabilitation of abused primates, and the enforcement of international treaties aimed at protecting primates from illegal trade and experimentation.

If you get chance, I’d recommend a visit to the 65 acre wildlife park, opened thanks to his own personal investment (he sold his own house to start the project), and support from his business partner. Some government funding followed later.

“Jim had a passion for life and the conservation of wildlife that was an inspiration to all who knew him,” the Monkey World web site tribute reads. “His enthusiasm was infectious and he will be missed by all whose lives he touched. Jim’s legacy will continue under the guidance of his devoted wife, Dr Alison Cronin. Monkey World and the numerous projects Jim and Alison set up around the world will continue as a fitting memorial to a man whose life touched so many around the world.”

Monkey World have set up a fund in memory of Jim, who was awarded an MBE for his work, to continue his legacy and all donations should be made payable to the Jim Cronin Memorial Fund and sent to Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre, Wareham, Dorset BH20 6HH.

He will be much missed.

Web Links:

New York Times obituary (registration required) – 20 March 2007
Report on funeral in the US – The Journal News, 20 March 2007

Senior Keeper Mike Colbourne has pays tribute to Jim in The Dorset Echo (21 March 2007)
Tributes from the Ape Alliance and other campaigners in The Dorset Echo (21 March 2007)
Tribute by Neal Butterworth, Editor of The Dorset Echo (20 March 2007)

Categories: Obituaries

4 replies

  1. Nice little tribute – one issue though – Jim made a lot of personal investment along with his business partner to open Monkey World. He sold his house to help finance it. He may or may not have had a grant, but if he did, it would not have been great. You make it sound as if he was given the finance on a plate. Would you please correct your entry. Thanks.

  2. Hi Lu – thanks for the additional info, have amended. Still reeling from the news of Jim’s death. I hope whoever makes Moneky World will make a tribute documentary.

  3. I hadn’t been on the Monkey World web site for a while so I logged in around the 29th March and the page downloaded with the announcement of Jim Cronin’s death, I wept from shock and sadness.

    As he died on St. Paddy’s Day I hadn’t seen any news and I stopped reading papers when I realised they only print their version of the truth.

    I am an avid Monkey World fan and have watched all the episodes many times over and will continue to do so.

    I am going to a wedding next May in Devon and, some weeks ago, I said to my daughter that we should make it a mini holiday as my greatest wish would be to visit Monkey World when we are in Southern England. I am dependant on others to take me as I have limited mobility

    I remember watching Monkey Business one night and Jim and Alison had rescued yet another chimp from a life of misery and I thought to myself ‘When this man goes who is going to fight the chimp’s corner?”, now my worst thought is reality. I know he has left behind a true champion in his wife Alison and an excellent team headed by Jeremy but Jim was a character who most of the chimps seemed to take to readily and like Jeremy he had a real affinity with them.

    If there is a God I hope he took Jim because He has a heaven full of chips up there needing his unique talents

  4. Iam devastated at the loss of a trully selfless man who give so much to our closest relation I met him and am thankful of that he was kind and very unasuming as friendly and even more charming than his on screen image.
    My heart goes out to Allison, Jeremy, His daughter Elenor and all his family and friends and of course all the primates whose lives he made happier
    we will travel down to DORSET TO MONKEY WORLD this year when they hold the memorial/open day to celebrate and comemorate the life of this HERO RIP JIM YOU WILL BE MISSED!

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