Many charities struggle to attract the support of well known celebrities to endorse their work, yet Wild Futures' dream came true when highly esteemed English actor and comedian Stephen Fry agreed to present a short film on the charity’s work.

Stephen Fry came to know the charity after Director Rachel Hevesi wrote to him asking for support and a mutual friend recommended Wild Futures’ flagship project, The Monkey Sanctuary, near Looe, Cornwall.

Last year, Rachel travelled to London and spent the day at a film studio in Battersea where she observed Stephen Fry present her script. Since then Wild Futures PR team has been working hard to finalise the film and campaign launch; wanting to make the most of this amazing opportunity.

The film centres on the story of Joey, a black capped capuchin. Joey was stolen at just 3 months old from the rainforest; his mother was killed for bush meat. Capuchins are naturally tree dwellers, where they spend time foraging for food. Sadly, hunting, deforestation and the primate pet trade pose a serious threat to their species.

Video: Wild Futures: Joey's Story by Stephen Fry

Flown from South America to the UK, Joey was locked in a tiny cage in a flat in Camden Town for 9 years. He was deprived of the company of his own kind; unable to exercise; had no access to natural sunlight and subsequently became crippled by bone disease. He has a misshapen pelvis, curved spine, poorly formed teeth and jaws and will always be severely disabled.

Joey’s case is not unique; it is still legal to keep primates as pets in the UK, and it is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 privately owned primates. Primates are wild animals and it is not possible for a pet owner to provide them with specialist care and meet their complex social, psychological needs; leading to many primates suffering neglect and isolation.

Fortunately, Joey was rescued by Wild Futures in 2007 and taken to the Wild Futures’ Monkey Sanctuary, near Looe. Although he will always be severely disabled, he has learnt to play and most importantly, will have monkey friends for the rest of his life.

Stephen Fry has adopted Joey and states: “We are meant to be a nation of animal lovers, so why the trade in a wild, social animal with complex needs is still legal, continues to astound me. Joey’s story is not unique – many of the monkeys rescued by Wild Futures have their own terrible tales. Taking part in this project was important to me and I sincerely hope that many people are moved to support Wild Futures’ work, so that the charity can campaign to put an end to the trade and rescue more monkeys in need.”

Wild Futures hopes that the Stephen Fry film will raise awareness of the plight of many primates and ultimately raise funds through its ‘Adopt a Monkey scheme’. By donating just £3 a month, supporters will receive a personalised certificate, a picture of their adopted monkey, a factsheet on their monkey’s species, a free membership pass to The Monkey Sanctuary and regular communication on their monkey.

Wild Futures hopes that the film is viewed by many; that people share it through social networking sites and ultimately that it helps raise much needed funds to be able to rescue more monkeys.

Wild Futures has also organised a series of events up and down the country where members of Wild Futures’ fundraising team and Ambassadors will raise awareness of the film, Joey and the Adopt a Monkey scheme.

Rachel Hevesi, Director of Wild Futures states: “We are so grateful to Stephen Fry for his generous support and time taken to make this special film. The result is a fantastic piece of footage which really gets our message across.”

Hayley Dann, Head of PR, Wild Futures, states: “We are being asked weekly at the moment to rescue more monkeys due to the rise in monkeys being kept as pets; many who are damaged physically or psychologically. We hope that with this film we will be able to raise awareness and funds to enable us to rescue more monkeys, put an end to the primate pet trade and support more monkeys in the wild.”

Source: Wild Futures

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