Weatherwise, yesterday wasn’t the best time to visit La Vallee des Singes – Monkey Valley. It was overcast, damp and chilly and combining that with the vivid autumnal colours, it made photography difficult. Generally I found it hard to focus on my subjects, and out of 293 photos I only ended up with a handful that were reasonable, and nothing at all spectacular.
La Vallee des Singes closes for the winter on Sunday 11th November. We are lucky enough to live about four miles away, and every year since it opened in 1998 I’ve visited at least twice. But this year has been so busy that the only opportunity I’ve had was yesterday.
Despite the weather I found it, as always, the perfect place to unwind, relax, chill out and forget the rest of the world. The park has been continually enlarged since it first opened, and covers an area of 40 acres of trees, streams and bushes. It is the only park in France inhabited by a group of Bonobos, who are on the verge of extinction in the wild. In August one of the females gave birth to a baby, a rare event in captivity.
Since it first opened the park has also seen the birth of 10 baby gorillas, as well as other rare species like the Diana Roloway monkey.
There were only a handful of visitors yesterday and I barely saw another human being. But plenty of animals, and not just monkeys. Here are a few of the characters I met.