Just Got Back From the Monkey Forest

Old Apr 10th, 1999, 01:06 PM
Martha B
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Just Got Back From the Monkey Forest

The Monkey Forest (Foret des Singes) wasn't open for the season when people were wondering about it, or I would have gone sooner. It's in l'Hopitalet, in Southwest France. (In the middle ages, the town was the site of a hospital started by the Knights of St. John on the outskirts of Rocamadour.)
The Monkey Forest was started by Gilbert de Turckheim in 1974. Mr. de Turckheim also started the Monkey Mountain (Montagne des Singes) in Kintzheim near Colmar, and a third facility in Saleem, Germany.
The Monkey Forest has 120-130 barbary macaques, living in a fifty-acre wood. The monkeys wander freely-- human visitors must stay on the paths. Since barbary macaques are adapted to the cold winters of the Atlas mountains of North Africa, they can live outdoors year round in France.
Mr. Turckheim started these animal parks in order to save the macaques, which are a protected species, and diminishing in the wild. Over the years about 600 animals have been reintroduced from the parks back into the wild in North Africa. The monkeys, which live in natural social groups, are also used for non-invasive scientific studies of macaque behavoir.
Finally, the park, which is not government-sponsored, tries to be a profitable tourist attraction. The entrance fee was 35F (about $6), for which we got a free handful of pop corn to feed to the monkeys. The macaques grab pop corn out of visitors' hands, but otherwise don't like to be touched.
Don't expect Busch Gardens, Fla. There are no razzle-dazzle animal shows at the Monkey Forest. Except for being fed, the animals are left alone to go about their business. We spent an enjoyable afternoon there, sitting or walking quietly and watching what the monkeys were doing, without intervention from humans.
Old Apr 10th, 1999, 06:59 PM
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Thank you Martha ,

I have added this to my list of must see's. More information here than I have been able to source elsewhere. Thank you.
Old Apr 10th, 1999, 09:19 PM
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Thank you, that is most interesting. Do you have any more information about the project in Saleem, Germany?
Old Apr 11th, 1999, 11:30 AM
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Thank you, Martha! Several of us were dying of curiousity!
Old Apr 12th, 1999, 06:57 AM
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We will be traveling in Southwest France for vacation. What town is L'Hopitalet near - I could not find it on the map. Do you know the what hours and season it is open? Thanks for the great information. It sounds like an interesting place to visit.
Old Apr 12th, 1999, 11:06 AM
Martha B
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I'm glad my post was helpful. I realize I made a typo, though. The town is l'Hospitalet, not l'Hopitalet. It's in the Department of the Lot, just to the east of Rocamadour, which is a beautiful, historic village, and an important Catholic shrine. Rocamadour is in the northeast part of the Lot, east of Route National 20. Even with the correct spelling, you may not see l'Hospitalet on the map, but once you get to Rocamadour, it's hard to miss. There are signs for La Foret des Singes all over the place.
The park in Saleem, Germany is called Affenberg, which means Monkey Mountain. It's supposed to be in Southern Germany, but I haven't been able to track it down more specifically.
Hope this helps!
Old Apr 12th, 1999, 08:33 PM
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Bless your heart, girl! I have been trying to find a description of this place for weeks! It sounds like a perfect place to take a break from fortified towns, fortified churches, fortified chateaux, fortified forts, fortified milk...

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