Wales’s only Monkey sanctuary has thanked the people who helped it through lockdown as it bounces back over the summer.

Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary, based in Caehopkin in the south of Powys, takes care of over 200 animals, including chimpanzees, capuchin monkeys, wolf dogs, horses, and more.

They survived the financial shock of the pandemic through an incredible series of donations from the public.

“Our income just stopped completely we saw people panic buying and we thought how are we going to feed all our animals?” said Rosie Nelson, head of communications.

“We started fundraising through Facebook, we did a lot of live videos, we set up a go fund me, we did a couple of raffles and honestly the general public were out of this world, we wouldn’t have survived if it wasn’t for people who follow the sanctuary.”

The generosity of the public was huge as unexpected deliveries began to arrive at the sanctuary.

Some of the donations to the sanctuary.

“People were just turning up with car loads and van loads and pallets full of food,” said Rosie “I put a display in our foyer just to say thank you.”

“People were sending supermarket deliveries and ringing us to give donations.”

After lockdown it was initially a difficult start for the sanctuary.

“When we first opened we had to restrict our numbers in order to maintain social distancing which was hard, very, very hard.” said Rosie.

“Because we needed to be open to start getting the funds back in but then we had to turn people away, we thought we’d really struggle. It was a very hard few months being back open but were fully open now – no restrictions.”

A chimpanzee at the sanctuary.

This is going well for the sanctuary with both the staff and the animals enjoying the busier days this summer: “Being back open we’ve been busier. We’ve got a chimp in particular who loves a crowd – he loves to show in front of people and throw apples at them so he’s really thoroughly enjoying himself.”

Since re-opening the sanctuary has installed a new payment system and things are looking good going forward.

“We’ve got another few weeks of the summer holiday and it has been really busy so were just hoping now that we can maintain that,” said Rosie.

“The support we had was unbelievable, we were so lucky.”