Monday, 22 October 2012

A Site of Special Scientific Interest

  Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary is a rescue and rehabilitation centre for needy animals from across the world. Specialising in primates, they currently home: chimpanzees, gibbons, baboons, macaques, vervets, capuchins, marmosets, tamarins, lemurs, a mandrill, a mangabey, and a spider monkey named Jon Jon; but they have also opened their doors to a variety of other species, having had notable successes with wolves, foxes, capybaras and porcupine, as well as a host of traditional farmyard animals. Some are unwanted or unmanageable pets, or zoo stock too old to display. Others have been the subject of extreme and invasive research. At the sanctuary, all have found a home in which to live out the rest of their lives in safety.

  Situated near Abercrave, where the Swansea Valley meets the Brecon Beacons, the Sanctuary is surrounded by some of the most fantastic views you are likely to see. As the panoramic landscape rolls away into fickle skies, its weathered, yellowing face is far too real to be demeaned as mere beauty. It is ancient, with greying features sharp with rock, and bristled with the occasional stubble of trees. Were it not for the sporadic presence of houses, themselves old by our standards, it would be truly timeless. It is ancient. And it is craggy. But it holds its secrets well.
  In 2001, the Sanctuary's woodland was included in the Nant Llech Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Nant Llech river runs behind the Sanctuary from Henrhyd Falls to the River Tawe, an area well known for its fascinating geology. Many fossils have been unearthed there, including the two proudly fronting Swansea's museum. But it is also an area rich in biodiversity, with an immeasurable amount of different species. Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary provides a home for needy animals from across the world, but it also possesses a wealth of natural wildlife, which we will take a closer look at here, with keen but amateur eyes.

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