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Trentham Monkey Forest’s ‘poo-nique’ gut health research trumps Netflix new hit show!

Trentham Monkey Forest, a Staffordshire woodland home to 140 endangered Barbary macaques, is excited to join the conversation around gut health sparked by Netflix’s new hit show, Hack Your Health: The Secrets of Your Gut.

Just like the show’s dedication to uncovering the mysteries of gut health, conservationists at Trentham Monkey Forest also take the digestive system very seriously, as they’ve been ‘hacking’ the monkey residents’ health long before it was trendy, regularly testing their poo to ensure they’re in tip-top shape.

Trentham Monkey Forest is the largest primate enclosure in the UK.  The forest is 60-acre’s, the equivalent of 40 football pitches! Visitors can come and see the Barbary macaques live their best monkey life and observe their natural behaviours from up close, as they freely roam the huge woodland – making it one of the most unique days out in the UK.

Barbary macaques are a highly endangered species and Monkey Forest supports several organisations helping to protect the primates in the wild, as there are currently less than 8,000 Barbary macaques remaining.

One of the ways they help protect primates, is, (you guessed it), gut health analysis just like the Netflix show that’s shocking viewers!

But the importance of gut health is no shock to the team at Trentham Monkey Forest as they frequently analyse the monkey’s poo to understand their primate resident’s health!

In March this year, Matt Gardener a PhD student from Liverpool John Moore’s University collected monkey faeces to trial a new measure of gut health analysis. Matt travelled to Morocco in April and used the techniques he practised at Trentham Monkey Forest to conduct the same studies on wild Barbary macaques.

His aim was to measure faecal glucocorticoid levels in our Barbary macaques.

Now, you might be wondering, “What’s the scoop on faecal glucocorticoids?”

Turns out, the levels of faecal glucocorticoids can spill the beans on a monkey’s well-being. Matt believes that by perfecting his method at Trentham Monkey Forest, he could extend a helping hand to the wild Barbary macaques residing in Morocco. Imagine using poo science for the greater good of primates!

The results are awaiting in the pipeline, but it is hoped that this new kind of analysis can then be used more widely with other primates.

Trentham Monkey Forest has supported in-situ conservation and research since its creation back in 2005. They pride themselves on the research they help facilitate, as the environment is so similar to that in the wild, and the projects often directly helping the few remaining primates in the wild.

Measuring the primates gut health is just one of the many ways the Stoke-On-Trent based conservationists support the species.

“Monkey Forest is all about conservation and research and yes, seeing the latest Netflix show about Gut Health did emphasise the importance of it, not only in humans but in primates too! We’ve always believed that a good gut is the foundation of overall well-being, whether you’re swinging from trees or binge-watching Netflix,” says Matt Lovatt, Park Director.

“While the show may focus on human health, we’d love to also remind everyone that taking care of your gut is universal. So, whether you’re a human or a monkey, remember to eat your greens, get plenty of fibre, and, of course, don’t forget to laugh— as that’s good for the gut too!”

For more information about Trentham Monkey Forest their commitment to primate conservation and research, visit


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