Monkey Life

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The documentary TV series Monkey Life follows both the inhabitants and crew of the ape rescue center Monkey World, which resides in Dorset, United Kingdom. Having been founded in 1987, Monkey World focuses on rescuing and rehabilitating primates from around the world. Its collection of researchers, doctors and wildlife experts are headed by Dr. Alison Cronin. Alison's husband Jim, along with Jeremy Keeling, founded Monkey World.

Monkey Life has been airing since 2007 and preceded the series Monkey Business. Primate Planet Productions Ltd accompanies the crew on their rescues to document the work put into saving the creatures from varying problems, including primate smuggling. The series was narrated by Andy Serkis for the first season, and then Ralf Little took over for the remaining seasons. It was aired on ITV Meridian as well as Animal Planet.

The first few episodes are a reintroduction to some of the species at Monkey World following Monkey Business. This includes the birth of a third woolly monkey born into the park, a pregnant orangutan and two chimps who are being hand-reared by keepers. The show depicts normal life and adaptation between the species and the keepers. Often strife within the primates species occurs, such as mothers rejecting their young, primates having tantrums and necessary dental surgery. The sister sanctuary in Vietnam has also been documented on the series since season 2 and is run by the charity Endangered Asian Species Trust, who focus on endangered Vietnamese primate rescues.

Jim Cronin had been awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth and a Jane Goodall Award. He passed away during the first season of Monkey Life from cancer. His Memorial Fund was established to protect primate conservation and continue ongoing rescue and rehabilitation efforts. His wife Alison and the crew continue pursuing Jim's legacy.

Weekdays 6:30 PM et/pt on Five
2 Seasons, 40 Episodes
November 30, 2020
Documentary & Biography
Cast: Ralf Little
Monkey Life

Monkey Life Full Episode Guide

  • Precocious baby orangutans Bulu and Rieke run the team ragged. An older monkey with poor eyesight gets audible signals from the team.

  • It's playtime for baby Bulu when he meets Rieke, an orphaned 6-week-old orangutan from Berlin. Jester the chimp has dental surgery.

  • A young chimp starts playing with the big boys, Alison rescues two more little monkeys, and the center agrees to take in a new baby from Berlin.

  • The staff struggles with the loss of one of the animals while trying to provide round-the-clock support to a baby orangutan.

  • Alison visits the Maldives to rescue a loris that was confiscated in a drug raid. Back at the park, a staff member is outwitted by a clever capuchin.

  • The team faces a heartbreaking decision when they discover that one of the chimps has an inoperable condition.

  • Everyone is curious to see if orangutan Hsiao-quai will bond with a newly arrived orphan. Elsewhere in the park, an odd couple moves in together.

  • Alison is in for a surprise when she visits Cheshire to rescue more marmosets. Back at the park, a young woolly monkey gets a special enclosure.

  • The team faces unexpected challenges when they travel to a sister sanctuary in Vietnam for the release of two golden-cheeked gibbons.

  • The chimps are somber after losing one of their own to a mysterious tragedy, but life goes on for other primates in the park.

  • While the chimps and orangutans adjust to living alongside new neighbors, there are major changes afoot for two young primates.

  • It's all hands on deck as the park prepares to swap two groups' living quarters. Cherri takes the newborn twins on an adventure.

  • Cherri the chimp gives birth to twin girls, and golden-cheeked gibbons Tien and Kim explore their new tree-filled enclosure.

  • There's love in the air for a pair of golden-cheeked gibbons, but one gets cold feet when it's time to get acquainted.

  • Although the park is almost at capacity, Alison agrees to take in one more: a woefully neglected marmoset named Baby Leo.

  • The team recruits a wildlife dentist to assist with one of the chimps, while the new stump-tailed macaque learns her place in the pecking order.

  • Alison and Jeremy travel to Germany to help a lonely stump-tailed macaque. The chimp team is excited about the possibility of a pregnancy.

  • A young orangutan moves to the nursery with his mom and baby sister. There, he's reunited with his older brother and they cause a ruckus.

  • Mischief abounds at the capuchin house when one of the groups has a weigh-in. Elsewhere, there's a challenge to the established chimp leadership.

  • Called to Liverpool to rescue two capuchin monkeys, the team soon realizes someone got the species wrong. Back at the park, the chimps incite mayhem.

  • At four weeks old, woolly monkey Bueno Junior shows impressive strength. Baby orangutan Silvestre gets acquainted with the nursery boss.

  • The staff bids an emotional farewell to woolly monkeys Julio and Diego. The marmosets move into their new residence.

  • Chaos at the lemur enclosure has serious consequences. Meanwhile, siamang gibbons Sam and Sasak return to their normal routines after a health scare.

  • Woolly monkey Sara is rushed into an emergency operation, a golden-cheeked gibbon takes his first steps, and the capuchins hunt for treasure.

  • The center's new spider monkeys receive a noisy welcome, and love is in the air for the flirty capuchins. Oshine the orangutan shares a big treat.

  • A siamang gibbon risks losing his girlfriend when she's struck by a mysterious illness. Plus, there's a new squirrel monkey in town.

  • Hsiao-ning settles into her new home at the Rostock Zoo, while back at Monkey World, the boisterous bachelor chimps throw a party.

  • It's tough for the staff to say goodbye to orangutan Hsiao-ning. Things get more spirited in the Lodge when new capuchins move in.

  • The newly arrived marmoset, James, fights for his life in the park's hospital. Big changes are afoot in the nursery as an orangutan comes of age.

  • Tensions are high at the center as a woolly monkey's health takes a turn for the worse and chimpanzee Tutti prepares for an operation.

  • Still in Vietnam, the team checks the pygmy lorises to see how they're acclimating to life in the wild. Plus, Alison meets baby Lala.

  • Visiting a sister sanctuary in Vietnam, the team releases rare pygmy lorises into the wild and assists a golden-cheeked gibbon named Da.

  • Bryan the chimp acts up and a marmoset gets rescued from a pet shop full of predators. Meanwhile, there's a trespasser in the capuchin enclosure.

  • The police get involved after two marmosets are found living in deplorable conditions. The vets help the capuchin leader after a tussle.

  • A woolly monkey gets a baby sister, Charlie the squirrel monkey meets his new family, and the marmosets treat the staff to a morning surprise.

  • Alison responds to an urgent call from the authorities and orangutan Kai struggles to cope without his mother. Plus, a fight erupts in an enclosure.

  • The center is buzzing with thieving squirrel monkeys, bonding orangutans and speculation that woolly monkey Yarima might be pregnant.

  • The center welcomes its first saki monkey as the vet staff struggles to diagnose the problem with ring-tailed lemur Houdini.