James Michael Cronin
15 November 1951
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
|17 March 2007 (aged 55)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
|Ros Cronin (?-?) (divorced)
Dr Alison Cronin (m. 1996–2007) (his death)
James Michael Cronin MBE (15 November 1951 – 17 March 2007) was an American zookeeper. He was the co-founder of Monkey World, a place of refuge for primates that have been treated badly and not taken care of properly, in Dorset, England, in 1987, from the United States. He was widely acknowledged as an international expert in the rescue and rehabilitation of abused primates, and in the enforcement of international treaties aimed at protecting them from illegal trade and experimentation.
Early life[change | change source]
Cronin was born on 15 November 1951 in Yonkers, New York, to Italian-Irish parents. He was the son of a union official. He was educated at St Denis School and Lincoln High School. He had a number of jobs after leaving school before becoming a keeper at Bronx Zoo in the 1970s. While he was working there, he realised he wanted to work with animals. He moved to Kent in the UK to work in John Aspinall's zoo in 1980.
Working with primates[change | change source]
Cronin started working with primates by working as a zoo keeper in various zoos. He came to the UK, where he got a job as a zoo keeper at John Aspinall's zoo at Howletts, where he perfected his skills of primate rehabilitation and care, in 1980. John Aspinall had set up a breeding programme for gorillas which were an endangered species. Jim Cronin's passion for working with primates made him quite successful in his career and encouraged him to wish to eventually build a safe haven for primates that were treated badly. During his years working at John Aspinall's Zoo, he gave himself the necessary experience of dealing with apes on a daily basis in his career path of working with them as well as small monkeys and their complex life needs.
Monkey World[change | change source]
The biggest rescue the centre undertook was that of the 19 retired stump-tailed macaques from a medical research laboratory in the UK; but the rescue mission in 2008, of the 88 capuchin monkeys from a medical research laboratory in Chile, took the record of the largest rescue of primates in the world.
The television series Monkey Business (made by Meridian Broadcasting and shown on ITV Meridian in the UK and on Animal Planet worldwide) has documented the Cronin's frequent rescue missions and undercover investigations throughout Europe and Asia for the past 10 years. Beginning in 2007, Monkey Business was replaced with Monkey Life, which also documents the goings-on within Monkey World.
Death[change | change source]
Following a brief battle with liver cancer, Cronin died on 17 March 2007 at the Cabrini Medical Center, Manhattan, New York. He was survived by his daughter Eleanor, from his first marriage, and his wife Alison Cronin. Since his death, Monkey World has been run by Alison and his close friend Jeremy Keeling.
Jim Cronin Memorial Fund[change | change source]
The Jim Cronin Memorial Fund for Primate Welfare and Conservation was set up for the purpose of continuing Cronin's legacy and for the support of primate conservation and welfare all over the world. It is a UK-registered charity, number 1126939, and is sponsored by Monkey World.