Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by LeeMac13, 29 Apr 2009.
Has anybody been to Monkey Forest in Trentham? Were thinking of visiting but not sure what its like?
Depends on how much you like monkeys...
I'd say it's worth one visit to see a 100+ troop of macaques living in an established forest with no barrier (but after 1 or 2 visits it can get a bit "samey").
It's also worth bearing in mind that it is relatively expensive to see one species
its more for my girlfriend than me as she is a huge monkey/ape fan. how close to the macaques do you get?
It depends on the section of the park. They often cross the human's footpaths in front of you!
Feeding time is a good experience and all of the park's barriers are knee height and are more to keep human's out as the monkeys just walk under them.
Check out the gallery photos. I've posted one that shows how close the monkeys can get to you
If you like monkeys it is worth it. I am not a huge fan of monkeys but I went and enjoyed it, staying well over 90 minutes.
I enjoyed it but it is expensive for the one species. I was with kids with a limited attention span but I could have spent much longer enjoying all the politics going on - there were 2 groups and the males were having a dispute, everyone had to stop where they were until it resolved or at least for that session. There were 2 babies which were lovely to see. The guide/souvenir brochure was a rip off compared to other places.
Some people have questions here about Monkey Forest so,
They have 140 free ranging Barbary Macaques which are contained within a 60 acre forest, split into 2 distinct groups.
I think it is excellent value for money, off the top of my head I think it is £6 for adults, less for children which is amazing considering that these animals are free ranging, living how monkeys should, it is the only free ranging monkey enclosure in the whole of the UK and there are guides all through the forest who are there to answer all your questions and present the feeding talks every hour.
The other great thing about Monkey Forest is they do not just talk about conservation, it is conservation in action. These monkeys are breeding in conditions very similar to their wild counterparts and they will hopefully be returned to the wild, and Monkey Forest has a proven track record with this. In fact, about 80% of what we know about Barbary Macaques and their social life has come from studies conducted at Monkey Forest, as the observations which scientists make there are representative of the Barbary Macaques in the wild.
This is an excellent animal collection to visit.
Think you may have swallowed the Collections PR manual over this post,considering that Barbary Macaques is one of the most study species of primate in captivity,also the British Army has been studying the ones on Gibraltar for one hell of alot longer than this park has ever been open!
As for Value for money £6 isn`t to bad but for another £3 I can go up to Blackbrook Zoo and see alot more than 1 species of primate and spend the best part of a day there as opposed to not much more than 1 hour at Trentham .
Collection PR manual?!
I think you are missing a vital point I was trying to make - since when can a collection of any species living in cages be studied and the observations be made applicable to the wild population? The British Army might be studying the Gibraltar Monkeys however that can not be data which is relelvant to the actual wild ones. The Gibraltar Monkeys are in a class of their own with the attacks on visitors, raiding cars, approaching visitors - not very natural behaviour! In addition, Monkey Forest has been open for many years, the UK one has only been open since 2005 however there are French and German parks too and in this time a lot of effort has been put into research, which is making a valid contribution to scientific data.
Blackbrook zoo is nice too, although I would rather spend £6 looking at free ranging Monkeys and be given all the information I want on them - then going to Blackbrook and seeing their Lemurs in 'pens', although I will admit there Penguin Pool is excellent, and the range of bird species is too.
You may have spent 1 hour at Monkey Forest however the vast majority of people do not, 1 hour to look at 100+ monkeys spread over all that area, I think half a day is more reasonable (comparable to the time you can spend at Blackbrook).
Thanks for your comments. I think people with an interest in Primates, who want to get some excellent photos, learn something, see conservation in action and do not like seeing animals in pens would love Monkey Forest. People who have an interest in birds and want to see more variety would love Blackbrook.
So studying the behaviour of Gibraltar Barbary Macaques doesn't contribute to our knowledge of the behaviour of the species they belong to? They may have different forgaging behaviour but I suspect the social behaviour hasn't varied too much. And even if it had, that's a bit like saying you can't learn anything about human behaviour from studying people in different environments - in prison, say, or in disaster situations, which is I think pretty clearly nonsense.
But you did claim:
Even allowing for the overseas parks, that's a massive proportion of 'knowledge' (not sure how you quantify this, either) and I'm afraid I'm with zoogiraffe - I simply don't buy it. And if 80% of our knowledge really does come from Monkey Forest animals, then we really don't have a large enought data set for wild anmals to to be able to say if it is representative of wild behaviour. These animals are still exposed to a lot more people and disturbance than they would be in their Atlas habitat.
I can't comment on the place as I've never visited (not far from me, so I'm sure I will at some point) but I'm really not sure about these research claims. I'm sure they do plenty of good work, but 80% of all Barbary Macaque behaviour knowledge I have a hard time acccepting.
Maybe we want different things from a zoo but I find it hard to imagine a half-day at a single exhibit on a normal visit; particularly one with only a single species. The thing that's put me off going is that I think I'm going to drive all the way there and have the place done in half an hour to an hour.
And then probably end up at Blackbrook for the rest of the day. (which, for the record, I usally do in half a day but I could easily spend all day at)
But it's not really fair of me to have commented this much without having visited, so I will withhold further judgement until I've been there.
My views on Monkey forest: My sisters (who I make 80% of my zoo trips with) were really really quite excited about monkey forest and had planned the trip for something like a year...I was less sure. Anyway it took us around 2 hours to get there and I'm afraid we came back dissapointed. The mature woodlands are fantastic (though the paths aren't long enough to really appreciate it in my opinion) and an utterly incomparable habitat for captive primates I felt that it really was just like one exhibit in a zoo and that was it. The education was amazing with many guides along the track and an emphasis of conservation. They macaques were a joy to watch but I feel the average visitor zoo can only spend so-much time with 'monkeys'. I feel perhaps those more interested in the study of the macaques may find monkey forest the Elisian fields of all monkey habitats. Monkey forest doesn't compare to other semi-wild primate encounters such as Apenhuel (I dont think the spelling is right). For a two hour drive we spent just about three hours in monkey forest going around twice.
To summarise great for the monkeys and scientists but dissapointing for the average zoo-goers.
Again, not true. Both Paignton and Jersey have free-roaming tamarins. Not to mention collections such as Longleat, whose Monkey Jungle must come pretty close to the size of Trentham.
I think this comes down to how subjective a subject like this is! It is impossible to say everyone will love, or hate it. Obviously how much you enjoy an exhibit depends on various factors, including amongst lots of things, the distance travelled, the price, the previous expectations, the species you are most interested in and your own background.
There are other Primates in large enclosures (I've been to many of them)but I think none are actually free ranging in that they are tropical climate Primates so have housing provided and I don't know of any which are as large as Monkey Forest, although I'm happy to be told otherwise and I'll go visit them! The Macaques are very much wild, no contact is given with them, they are not hand fed, handled or interacted with, unlike the Gibraltor Monkeys.
I stand by my comments re 80% of the knowledge, as it is fact, and Monkey Forest actually has made a massive contribution to make to the scientific knowledge, which can not be underestimated. And the Gibraltor Macaques are not a accurate representation, they have their contribtutions to make however the amount of human contact they have is so far removed from their wild counterparts that it makes Monkey Forests data also valuable.
People on here seem very fired up about this and my comments, but I was merely giving my opinion, I did not state any 'facts' which were not true and I'm not saying everyone should go to Monkey Forest but if you are in the area then its worth going.
Maybe it would be helpfull if you could post your source on these facts.
I'm with taun here - that 80% is a big claim and I can't accept it as truth unless you can back it up with something (in which case I shall humbly withdraw my objections to the statement!).
Another correction, you did not state any facts you are not admitting to be true. I wouldn't say people are really getting fired up, although perhaps a little annoyed that you seem to have swallowed a PR manual and are unwilling to accept anything other than that is truth (despite those who are disputing what you say, like Maguari and Taun, being very knowledgeable on their subject).
In regard to free-roaming monkeys, I shall once again say that Longleat has a Rhesus Macaque enclosure which is in the tens of acres (not sure of the exact size) and must qualify it by your definition (or, I suspect, that of Trentham's guide-book) as free-ranging.
Like with others, however, I will happily be proved wrong if you can come up with some reputable sources.
As for the Gibraltor Macaques not been an accurate representation,that may very well be true but from personnal experience i can tell you they are the best pick pocket unit of any species that I`ve seen,but that apart they all still live in small family units but they do still form up to create large troops with other family groups when the need arises.
I thought this was a friendly forum to discuss Zoo subjects, not a competition to see who knows the most, who has the most experience or who is knowledgable on their subject.
I gave my opinion on Monkey Forest and it is valid, it is a subjective opinion, how I see Monkey Forest from several visits and from the scientific papers. To say I am unwilling to accept your opinions is untrue, and even though Taun and Maguari are 'very knowledgable on their subject' my such experience, skills and knowledge should not be dismissed either.
I do not care if you visit Monkey Forest or not, it makes no difference to me, however I thought I was able to put across what I thought in the same manner as everyone else.
I will not be continuing the discussion as it will cause bad feeling and will not get us anywhere, I stand by my comments that Monkey Forest is a good animal collection and me, my fammily and friends will continue to visit.
It's certainly not my intention to get into a 'who knows the most competition', and I never suggested you weren't knowledgable. I simply see no evidence for the 80% figure, and when you make statements on a public forum your comments are open to debate and facts open to correction (I've been corrected myself on many an occasion!).
I cannot make any comment on the Monkey Forest as a place to visit as I have never been, so I also have no intention to criticise, except for my suspicion that it will not take half a day to do. I actually have a spare day next weekend and may head over there to take a look.
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