Set in the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre in Dorset, UK, Monkey Life follows the nail-biting rescue and rehabilitation stories of some of the most abused and neglected monkeys in the world, and the unwavering hard work of Jim and Alison Cronin in their ongoing mission to stop the illegal smuggling of primates from the wild. Refugees and chimps that were found abused in laboratories, circus tents or as photographers props are rehabilitated here and given the chance to spend the rest of their days being cared for in a natural environment.
Episode 1 – The Nursery chimps get the better of Animal Manager Jeremy, but he has his revenge! We also meet chimpanzee Paddy, who’s been the perfect leader of his group for more than 15 years. And we find out why new alpha male Hananya is struggling with life at the top. There’s tension when a baby Woolly Monkey is born, but instead of being tucked up with mum, it’s been rejected. Will the endangered primate survive without human intervention?
Episode 2 – There is a challenge for the staff as four chimps ‘move house’ on one day in the park’s biggest move around yet. Baby chimps Ash and Rodders have breakfast at home with keepers Emma and Paul. And, as Monkey World is the European crèche for baby orang-utans who need a home, there is news from Russia of an orang-utan orphan who needs a family.
Episode 3 – Keeper Mike is on a mission in Moscow for a baby orang-utan called Joly, while back at the park her future home has been built. And in Paddy’s chimp group, Eddi has a ‘toddler tantrum’. She’s growing up which means having to fend for herself, and she is not happy about it!
Episode 4 – Orphaned baby orang-utan Joly arrives at the park from Moscow, but her new housemate Hsiao-Ning is not pleased to see her! There is another new arrival at the park as orang-utan Ro-Ro gives birth, and animal manager Jeremy captures the incredible moment on camera. Unlike Ro-Ro’s first attempt at motherhood, all the signs look good – but the baby must feed.
Episode 5 – One of the park’s most lovable characters, chimpanzee Charlie has to undergo emergency dental surgery, and the damage is worse than expected. Ro-Ro is having trouble feeding her new baby daughter and the team intervenes. Chimp Seamus has failed to make any friends in Hananya’s group, so he’s moved back to his old nursery troop.
Episode 6 – We catch up with Carli and Gypsy, the two newest chimp hooligans who have joined the boisterous bachelor group. Jim and Alison are on a rescue mission to Hungary to collect stump-tailed macaque Koko. She has been living in a pet-shop cage for 20 years and the team gets a feisty greeting.
Episode 7 – Nerves run high as the team attempts a first at the park: a surrogate mum for a newborn baby orang-utan. The orang-utan nursery mob love spending time in their new outside enclosure, and stubborn Hsiao-Ning is even starting to enjoy life! And in Hananya’s group, Patricia is being pursued by the alpha male.
Episode 8 – The bachelor boys are up t their usual hooligan tricks, and there is concern when chimp Joline is struck down by a mystery illness. Elsewhere, stump-tailed macaque Koko is introduced to the great outdoors after 20 years in a pet-shop cage, and baby woolly monkey, Julio is coming on in leaps and bounds as he’s introduced to his woolly monkey family.
Episode 9 – New recruit Koko, a stump-tailed macaque, meets her first companion in years: old boy Gerald. Dinda is about to embark on a new life with her orang-utan family, and we meet Gismo, a capuchin with a tragic past. And there is great excitement when golden-cheeked gibbons Peanut and Pung-Yo welcome a new arrival to their family.
Episode 10 – It is time for baby woolly monkey Julio to leave his life living with humans. There is a shocking exit from the park for a capuchin monkey family when, 18 months after their rescue, a court order means they have to leave. After a year-long struggle, preparations begin for the rescue of a three-year-old chimp Bryan, who was stolen from West Africa and has been living as a photographer’s prop in Mexico. And it’s time for baby woolly monkey Julio to leave his life living with humans and join his woolly monkey family full-time.
Episode 11 – Jim and Alison are on a special mission to Cancun in Mexico. They have travelled 5,000 miles to collect a lively three-year-old chimp called Bryan, who has been mistreated by his owner and needs a home with his own kind. Jim and Alison must prepare Bryan for the long and difficult journey back to Dorset. Meanwhile, Alison is frustrated in her efforts to rescue an adult chimp named Coco, who belongs to the same owner.
Episode 12 – Toddler chimpanzee Bryan recovers from his 5,000-mile journey from Mexico and settles in to his new home with a hearty breakfast from Lee. There’s a medical crisis for chimp Joline when her loss of hair, stiff joints and lack of appetite prompt the vets’ concern. Will exploratory surgery explain what is wrong with her?
Episode 13 – The vets examine 17-year-old chimpanzee Freddie, who does not seem to be his usual boisterous self, and the staff wait to see if chimp Joline will recover from her mystery illness. In the nursery, youngsters Pip and Ben take a big step when they venture outside to play for the first time, and their new housemate, Bryan, is given a health check.
Episode 14 – Mexican monkey Bryan meets his chimp foster mum Sally, but no one is sure if he has been around another chimpanzee before. How will he react to his new mother? Elsewhere, Jim comes to the aid of lovable primate Charlie, who is being picked on by the other males in his group, especially at meal times. And the park faces an irreplaceable loss. Jim Cronin, has sadly passed away after a short battle with cancer. Will Alison and the team manage to keep his legacy alive?