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WINNERS 2014

JOEY

Capuchin monkey Joey was left permanently disabled after enduring nine years locked in a tiny cage in a London flat, but the plucky primate has bounced back from his ordeal and now helps other abused monkeys.

Joey was stolen from the rainforests of South America when he was just three months old. After his mother was killed for bush meat, Joey was sold into the primate pet trade and brought to the UK where his cruel owner kept him in a cage the size of a wardrobe.

By the time he was rescued by the RSPCA in 2007, he was so sick vets considered putting him to sleep. Unable to exercise and deprived of sunlight, Joey had become crippled by bone disease. A decade of abuse had left him with permanent disabilities - a misshapen pelvis, a curved spine and poorly formed teeth and jaws that mean his tongue will always hang out of his mouth.

He was so traumatised he would simply rock back and forth for hours a day when he reached his new home at Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall.

Gradually, day by day, Joey gained physical strength and started interacting with the other monkeys - whose company he had been deprived of while in captivity.

But it was when another capuchin Kodak arrived at the sanctuary that Joey really came into his own. After living in a photographer’s shop for five years, Kodak was aggressive and angry and the other monkeys did not trust him.

There was only one monkey that was prepared to give Kodak a chance and that was Joey. The pair struck up a friendship and taught each other how to be sociable monkeys again.

Today, Joey has taken on the role of welcoming all new monkeys to the sanctuary. Rachel Hevesi, director of Wild Futures, said: “Joey proves that character and social skills are more important than physical abilities. Having made such an astonishing recovery, he now enables other abused monkeys to make that journey from damaged pet to real monkey.”