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Alumni Profile Sue Wiper

Sue currently cares for 140 monkeys from 17 different families and is responsible for all aspects of their wellbeing at Trentham Monkey Forest. 

Posted: 31 January 2012

image for news story Alumni Profile Sue Wiper
Sue Wiper, 2005 MRes Primatology graduate

Sue Wiper is a 2005 graduate from the University of Roehampton’s MRes Primatology programme. She is currently the Director of Trentham Monkey Forest in Staffordshire and recently shared with us about how life has continued to progress for her post-degree and what it’s like in the world of monkeys.


Sue currently cares for 140 monkeys from 17 different families and is responsible for all aspects of their wellbeing. Her duties include everything from data analysis of female primate fertility cycles to training staff for visitor tours to see the cute creatures first-hand. She even holds the title of primate tattoo artist, as she gives each monkey at the forest a small tattooed marking for identification purposes: “They aren’t too picky about the artwork”, she joked. 


She began her work at Trentham while finishing the research for her degree at Roehampton and was initially asked to come on board as a consultant then later asked to step into the role of director. Each year the entire MRes Primatology course from Roehampton visits Trentham Monkey Forest to absorb research material and speak with Sue about her primatology degree being put to practice. 


Sue said that she chose Roehampton to further her education because, at the time she was researching Masters Degrees, there were only two universities in Britain to offer specialised primatology masters. She liked that Roehampton offered a research based course so she decided on its MRes programme. She boasts that she “loved every minute” of her study and that, although it was one of the hardest years of her life, it was also the most rewarding. 


She spoke very highly of the calibre of instruction she received from Roehampton professors and how it has had great influence in her effectively carrying out her position at Trentham. “Being taught to be precise, meticulous and factual gives you the confidence that what you are saying is backed up with scientific research. When you are responsible for not only knowing the full scope of demographics for over 140 monkeys, but for also ordering supplies and managing everything from the forest café to the tour guides, you need to be organised.”


When speaking about what she feels gives Roehampton the edge when compared to other universities, she mentioned that the key for her was “the personalised feel to everything. You don’t feel like another student in a large university you feel like an individual that is encouraged to learn and grow.”


Sue said that she would encourage students to attend Roehampton if they want and educational environment where they will “have a good time, learn and prosper”.

Trentham Monkey Forest is open for tours daily from the 31st of March until the 4th of November and visitors can walk the park path while monkeys roam freely. You can find more information about the forest and details about Sue’s work and research HERE.

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