Our sanctuary

ABOUT US

Since opening in 2010, Monkey Haven has rescued hundreds of creatures in need, from tiny songbirds to the mighty Siamangs. 

In 1999, our Founder, Don Walser, bought a muddy field on the Isle of Wight. He started planning a haven for rescued monkeys and birds of prey. Everyone thought he was mad, but he showed them! With the help of friends, family, and countless supporters, he turned it into an award winning animal sanctuary.

There were a few thrills and spills along the way, and it took everyone to the brink, but this is a story with a fairytale ending. We have rescued hundreds of primates, birds, reptiles and other creatures in crisis.

We’ve also won prestigious awards from VisitEngland, including a Gold Award, and we’re in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame. This is a fun place. We make animals happy and people happy. Come and see for yourself!

Close up of Don Walser

OUR CHARITY

Monkey Haven is supported by people just like you. We couldn’t rescue animals without your amazing help.

The charity that pays for everything – and that’s all the costs involved with caring for our animals – is called The Leaf Foundation. Why ‘Leaf’? Well, that stands for Life Enrichment for Animal Fulfilment. When you visit the Haven, have a cuppa in the tea room, or buy your souvenirs in the shop, you’re supporting The Leaf Foundation. So a big THANK YOU from us all!

What do you do with our money?

We help animals! That’s all the animals you’ll meet plus hopefully lots more in the future. Some of them are extremely rare, like the Cotton-Top Tamarins. With your support, we can afford to pay for their food, vet bills, accommodation and lots of treats.

Is there a bigger picture?

Yes! We want to protect the planet. That could mean drawing our visitors’ attention to the destruction of the rainforest or doing our bit by going ‘palm oil free’. Signs and banners throughout Monkey Haven promote these messages. We also jump at the opportunity to talk to schools and groups about conservation and other issues affecting animals in the wild.

Is being a charity important for you?

Yes, it’s a big deal for us. It’s important for us to be non profit making so that we can maximise the impact that we have. If we make money, it’s ploughed straight back into Monkey Haven, to support creatures in crisis.

We can also run appeals at Monkey Haven, such as the Aviary Appeal – and thanks to the generosity of our visitors, the birds now have smart new homes.

It also means that we can claim tax back on Gift Aid donations, at no extra cost to our supporters.

If you would like to find out more about the work that we do, please get in touch.

Registered charity no. 1153254

Get in touch

Animal rescues

Every animal rescue is different. But they all take a huge amount of careful planning and organisation to ensure that the stress on the animals is minimised. Here’s an example of one of our rescues…

We were delighted to welcome three new rescued Grivets to Monkey Haven in 2017. Atu was born in captivity; Safa was confiscated in Spain and had failed to thrive at other zoos; while Violetta lived as a pet in Cyprus for six years until her biting got out of control.

They join four more of the fluffy side-burned creatures who have lived at Monkey Haven since 2016, thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Malta is named after the airport where he was found, wrapped in a bag, having being smuggled in from his native Libya. To prevent him from making any noise, he was bound up in cloth and tape. The other Grivets have equally sad histories. Little Pepper has weak and crooked bones, from being kept in cramped conditions. Angèle was rescued from a small private zoo, following multiple complaints about her welfare. Soma is a former pet and lived in a tiny parrot cage, until she was confiscated by the Police.

All of them now display abnormal behaviours and personality defects that mean that they can never return to the wild. A Dutch organisation, AAP, spent over three years working closely with the animals to turn the frightened collection of Grivets into the sociable, functioning group that you can now see at Monkey Haven. Don Walser, our Founder, says: “These special monkeys can now live the rest of their lives in a peaceful, enriched environment.”

These monkeys love their bugs and their home has a big lawn where they can hunt around for live crickets and locusts. That’s fast food, Monkey Haven style!

then...

Malta the Grivet discovered bound up and hidden in a bag at the airport.

Malta has settled into a peaceful life at Monkey Haven with the other Grivets.

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It’s good to be green

Many of the animals that we care for are endangered species as their habitats are being destroyed.

We want to make the world a better place for all animals, so we’re as eco-friendly as possible:

  • All the timber we use is from sustainable forests.
  • The cedar roofs are energy efficient and help to prevent heat loss.
  • The soft floor of the play areas is made from 100% recycled aircraft tyres.
  • Fresh fruit and veg are grown around the Haven for our primates.
  • We grow herbs – the Capuchins love smearing them over their bodies as a natural insect repellent.
  • All cardboard waste is recycled.
  • Water from our water butts is used for our plants.
  • We try to avoid palm oil as rain forests are cut down to make way for this crop.
Palm oil free logo

Let’s talk about PALM OIL for a minute

In that minute, an area of rainforest the size of five football pitches will be destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations.

At Monkey Haven we’ve pledged to go ‘palm oil free’. None of our cleaning products contain palm oil. We don’t sell anything made from palm oil in our shop or tea room, unless it’s sustainable (but we try to avoid that too). Let’s do our bit to help the orangutans to hang around for generations to come.

Palm oil free logo

Let’s talk about PALM OIL for a minute

In that minute, an area of rainforest the size of 5 football pitches will be destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations.

At Monkey Haven we’ve pledged to go ‘palm oil free’. None of our cleaning products contain palm oil. We don’t sell anything made from palm oil in our shop or tea room, unless it’s sustainable (but we try to avoid that too).  Let’s all do our bit to help the orangutans to hang around for generations to come.

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