Penscynor Wildlife Park near Neath in South Wales closed in October 1998 and seven chimpanzees were faced with having to be euthanised. Jan and Graham could not let this happen and decided to make a home for them on their rare-breads farm at Caehopkin. That lead to it becoming a sanctuary for unwanted apes and monkeys.
This old picture from Penscynor Wildlife Park shows Chico, the mother of our chimps Twmi, Fergus and Susi. She had died before the park closed in 1998.
The local territorial army launched “operation teacup”, which was to disassemble the large chimp cage at Penscynor, transport it to our sanctuary and re-assemble it on our site.
This had to be accomplished in record time as the chimps had to be moved out into restrictive temporary accommodation during the move.
With help from the council, local supermarkets, a local brickworks and other suppliers and service providers they worked around the clock to re-house the chimps.
As well as transfering the cage from Penscynor Graham designed and built new cages, sleeping quarters, food stores, veterinary facilities, and viewing facilities for visitors, incorporating them into one purpose built complex.
Being an experienced welder and fabricator he was able to make the specialised galvanised steel structures, doors, locking systems, racking etc himself, thus not only saving costs but accelerating the rate of the development.From a standing start in January 1999 the new facilities for the chimps were built and operational by April 1999. Jan and Graham moved their seven new family members to the sanctuary on February 21st 1999.
The first thing the chimps did on arriving in their new home was to test every nut, bolt and panel on their enclosure for tightness. Having established that they were tight and secure they just got on with their lives.
The picture above is of Suzi, Vicky and Fergus in their old enclosure at Penscynor Wildlife Park. Vicki unfortunately has since died.
In all seven chimps were rescued from Penscynor several of which were quite old. Winnie, Jeremy, Neusi and Vicky have
now died, but we are delighted to have been able to give them those extra years of care, love and comfort.