Morecambe zookeeper grows moustache to rival monkeys

Neil Cook and an Emperor Tamarin monkey.
Neil Cook and an Emperor Tamarin monkey.

A zookeeper is trying to grow a moustache to rival his monkey friends for a very good cause.

Neil Cook from Morecambe has very personal reasons for supporting the ‘Movember’ charity, which works to raise awareness on male health issues such as testicular cancer and mental health issues.

Before joining Lakeland Wildlife Oasis in Milnthorpe in 2016, Neil was an animal studies technician at Lancaster and Morecambe College, where he became aware of the lack of conversation around male health and mental wellbeing in particular.

“I realised people, especially young men, weren’t able to talk about their feelings,” he said.

“This was brought very close to me when a friend suffered a breakdown.

“Luckily he was able to get help, but we weren’t aware how desperate he had become, and the help he could have received earlier.

“I’m lucky enough to work daily with our mischievous Emperor Tamarin monkeys, who have the most incredible moustaches. So, my challenge is to grow a ‘tache to rival theirs- although they’ll beat me paws-down!”

Neil is splitting his fundraising between ‘Movember’ and ‘Proyecto Tití’, a charity working for the preservation of the South American Cotton-Top Tamarins, who are among the most endangered primates in the world.

“I look completely ridiculous with a moustache- so bad that strangers come up and ask me about it but it’s a great conversation-starter and a great way to raise awareness.”

You can donate to Neil’s ‘Magnificent Movember’ via GoFundMe or at the Oasis.