On a small farm in the Quebec countryside thirteen elderly chimpanzees are living out what's left of their troubled lives. Retired from the infamous Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates; the chimpanzees' home is now an idyllic place called Fauna Sanctuary.
The chimps share their oasis with more than one-hundred other animals, exiles from farming, entertainment, education and research. Together, they are slowly healing, physically and emotionally, after lifetimes of suffering.
Author Andrew Westoll worked at Fauna Sanctuary as a volunteer and vividly recounts his time in the chimp house and the heart-wrenching histories of its residents. He arrives with dreams of striking up an immediate friendship with the legendary Tom, a father figure to the rest of the chimps and Gloria's greatest teacher. Instead, Tom haunts Westoll's dreams. Gradually, though, the rest of the 'troop' warm toward Westoll. He befriends Binky, the resident practical joker; Sue Ellen, whose favourite fashion accessory is a beaded necklace; and Chance, who picks the hot peppers of her pizza.
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. More information about Fauna Sanctuary at: www.faunafoundation.org/index.html
Andrew Westoll is a former biologist and primatologist. He now works as a journalistspecialising in travel, science, conservation, social justice and culture. Based in Toronto, he writes for many of Canada's premier media and is the author of The Riverbones: Stumbling After Eden in the Jungles of Suriname.
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary
Author: Andrew Westoll