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Lonely monkey finds his Val-entine

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An embrace with Valerie ends a lifetime of loneliness for rescued Pepe

Lima, Peru: The tale of Pepe, a spider monkey rescued from a circus in world-famous holiday destination Cusco, by London-based Animal Defenders International (ADI) has gripped animal lovers around the world.

The intelligent, playful monkey had been kept alone and chained by the neck for eight years. The circus had snapped off Pepe’s canine teeth so that he could not defend himself, and the world’s leading veterinary dentist had to be flown in to repair the damage. Now, in the most moving chapter of his story so far, Pepe has finally been reunited with his own kind.

ADI has been assisting the Peruvian authorities to enforce their ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, as well as with the relocation of animals seized from the illegal pet trade – a mission called Operation Spirit of Freedom. In January, the ADI rescue centre outside Lima received Valerie, a young, illegally-trafficked spider monkey who was being used for entertainment in a restaurant.

For Valentine’s Day, ADI has released the heart-warming images of Pepe meeting Valerie for the first time, and their joy as they begin to play and chatter to each other:


ADI President Jan Creamer said “Pepe is a gentle soul with a big heart and we are absolutely thrilled to see him and Valerie together knowing they both spent so many years alone – it was a very emotional moment. Pepe has been incredibly affectionate with all of us, but we knew that what he really needed was someone of his own kind to love.”

“We urgently need funds for the habitats in the Amazon to make the forever homes for Pepe, Valerie and the other monkeys we have rescued. They deserve their own happily-ever-after. Just £6 will help give Pepe and Valerie the perfect happy ending.”

ADI has a temporary rescue centre just outside Lima, with a full time veterinary team acting as a hub for Operation Spirit of Freedom in Peru. ADI is caring for 21 lions and over 20 other native wild animals there – mainly monkeys. ADI will be relocating all of the animals to permanent homes in the next two months including flying the 21 lions plus 9 other lions from Colombia, to a sanctuary in Colorado, USA.
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As part of the rehabilitation programme, ADI experts assess the individual animals and form family groups so they can be rehomed together. Prior to their emotional union, Pepe and Valerie had reached out to each other and held hands through the bars of their neighbouring enclosures. Then under the watchful eyes of the ADI team, the two monkeys were allowed to meet.

All of the native wildlife rescued during ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom, including Pepe and Valerie, will be relocated to sanctuaries in Peru’s Amazon forests but ADI must first construct the jungle habitats that will be their homes.

Jan Creamer, “The current care, relocation and habitat construction costs for this important rescue operation are enormous, but we hope that if Pepe and Valerie’s story touches people’s hearts this Valentine’s Day they will help put right the wrong done to these animals at the hands of people.”

Please donate to help ADI build Pepe and Valerie a new home in the Amazon here >>> LINK (UK)

Find out more about ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom here >>> LINK