Circus Monkey was Chained Up for Eight Years, Now He Knows Friendship and Freedom

January 8, 2019 Updated: January 10, 2019

After a spider monkey was rescued from a circus, it took time before he could adjust to life free from abuse. And when he finally made a friend with his own kind, it was an incredible moment.

Pepe the spider monkey had been chained to a collar for eight years in a circus. When rescuers saved him in 2015, they saw his canine teeth had been snapped off, making him unable to defend himself.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Wollertz

According to The Dodo, Pepe clung to his rescuers as if he’d never let go; he seemed to know they were there to help him, and not punish him as had happened in the past.

“Just with us these past six or seven months he’s learned a different kind of life,” Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), told The Dodo. “That he could have freedom, and most importantly that he would never be hurt.”

Although Creamer knew that Pepe was safe and given love by staff, what he needed most was companionship with his own kind.

When ADI found out about Valerie, a spider monkey that was illegally taken from the wild and made to perform at a restaurant in Peru, they set about in rescuing her and hoped she would become friends with Pepe.

Pepe and Valerie were housed in a temporary rescue center in adjacent cages so they could get used to each other. Then, when they were placed in the same enclosure, magic happened.

“First they explored each other’s space and then coming together EXPLODED into a playful embrace—an incredible, joyous moment we will never, ever forget,” ADI wrote on their Facebook page.

Pepe, Valerie, and over 30 other animals were later housed in a temporary shelter in Lima before being flown 600 miles to their new home in the Amazon. When they arrived at their new sanctuary, there were more incredible moments.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Kit Korzun

“You could see what you could only describe as joy on their faces,” Creamer said. “They immediately ran up to the turrets so they could see what they could see.”

These monkeys will now have a permanent home at the sanctuary since they would not be able to survive on their own in the wild.

“They don’t know how to build nests so we put some hammocks in there and put straw in them, so they get that at night they should build nests,” Creamer shared.

However, their lives will be enriched by the fabulous sanctuary where they can spend the rest of their days at, free from the bondage of chains.

“They’ve got a very rich environment,” Creamer added. “There’s a lot of jungle around there, beautiful natural habitats.”

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