The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery

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9780547737386: The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery

“Astonishing . . . Moving.” —People

The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an unflinching, visceral look at the emotional and physical damage—actual, real damage done to specific, individual apes—in some of America’s most notorious biomedical research labs. It is also the story of humans who were driven to provide them with refuge, retirement . . . and, ultimately, their inherent right to dignity.” —Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

IN THE CANADIAN WILDERNESS, Gloria Grow has created a rehabilitation center like none other. Thirteen chimpanzees, rescued from zoos and medical testing laboratories, now call Fauna Sanctuary home. After decades of cruelty and deprivation, these resilient primates are finally free to eat, sleep, play, and roam in peace—all while fighting their personal demons. Primatologist and author Andrew Westoll lived and worked at Fauna one remarkable summer, and The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is his poignant testimony to the capacity of these animals to heal—and to learn to be chimps again. This is an absorbing, bighearted story about the species more closely related to us than any other.

“There is plenty of moral outrage in this book, but there is also plenty of wonder . . . Impassioned and well reasoned.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

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Review:

In 1997 Gloria Grow started a sanctuary for chimps retired from biomedical research on her farm outside Montreal. For the indomitable Gloria, caring for thirteen great apes is like presiding over a maximum security prison, a Zen sanctuary, an old folks’ home, and a New York deli during the lunchtime rush all rolled into one. But she is first and foremost creating a refuge for her troubled charges, a place where they can recover and begin to trust humans again. 

Hoping to win some of this trust, the journalist Andrew Westoll spent months at Fauna Farm as a volunteer and vividly recounts his time in the chimp house and the histories of its residents. He arrives with dreams of striking up an immediate friendship with the legendary Tom, the wise face of the Great Ape Protection Act, but Tom seems all too content to ignore him. Gradually, though, old man Tommie and the rest of the “troop” begin to warm toward Westoll as he learns the routines of life at the farm and realizes just how far the chimps have come. Seemingly simple things like grooming, establishing friendships and alliances, and playing games with the garden hose are all poignant testament to the capacity of these animals to heal. 

Brimming with empathy and winning stories of Gloria and her charges, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an absorbing, bighearted book that grapples with questions of just what we owe to the animals who are our nearest genetic relations.

Amazon Exclusive: Images from Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary
(Click on Images to Enlarge)

The makeshift outdoor kitchen during Operation Cucarachas Toby relishes his private time in the chimphouse

Another bustling day in the Fauna chimphouse. Spock mulls over what to eat for lunch

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HMH Hardcover, 2011Previous ISBN 978-0-547-32780-8

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Book Description Mariner. 1 Paperback(s), 2011. soft. Book Condition: New. (Winner of Canada's 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction) In the Canadian wilderness, Gloria Grow created a rehabilitation center like no other, providing shelter and care for chimpanzees rescued from zoos and medical testing laboratories. At Fauna Sanctuary, primates who have endured decades of cruelty and deprivation are finally free to eat, sleep, play, and roam in peace—all while fighting very real psychological damage. Writer and primatologist Andrew Westoll lived and worked at Fauna for one remarkable summer, and here offers poignant testimony to the capacity of these animals to heal, and to learn to be chimps again. It is a bighearted, irresistible story about the species more closely related to us than any other. "An unflinching, visceral look at the emotional and physical damage—actual, real damage done to specific, individual apes—in some of America's most notorious biomedical research labs. It is also the story of humans who were driven to provide them with refuge, retirement . and, ultimately, their inherent right to dignity."—Sara Gruen"This book will make you think deeply about our relationship with great apes. It amazed me to discover the behaviors and feelings of the chimpanzees."—Temple Grandin"A true story of endurance and resilience, compassion, dedication and love. I knew the prison-like conditions of the medical research facility from which Gloria rescued these chimpanzees; when I visited them at their new sanctuary I was moved to tears. Finally they had reached a secure haven where, gradually, they could recover from their years of torment. Andrew Westoll is a born story teller: The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, written with empathy and skill, tenderness and humor, involves us in a world few understand. And leaves us marveling at the ways in which chimpanzees are so like us, and why they deserve our help and are entitled to our respect."—Jane Goodall 268. Bookseller Inventory # 71352

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