THE CHIMPS OF FAUNA SANCTUARY-a gritty,yet uplifting true story of great apes and the great people who look after them.

Posted: August 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Chimpanzees have always been uniquely fascinating to me. These mesmerizingly intelligent creatures are so much like us, one can’t help but be awed.  Sadly,this stunning likeness has given birth to a habit of great selfishness and cruelty that us humans have: medical experiments on chimpanzees. Yes,I agree that humans need to look after their health and life quality,but that gives us no right to destroy other lives in the process.

Thankfully,there are people with enough heart to do something for these creatures in need. People like Gloria Grow,whose sanctuary,Fauna,is the subject of the book I’ve just finished, titled simply but aptly THE CHIMPS OF FAUNA SANCTUARY,written by Andrew Westoll,from whom I’ve had the great honour to receive a signed copy of  what is truly  a  gem of modern animal-themed nonfiction. Though a very quick read for me(read it in 2 sittings of about an hour each), this book is one that will definitely remain one of my favourite true stories of all time.

With the skill,humour and heart of a great storyteller,Mr. Westoll introduces readers to the small but happy universe Ms. Grow created for her adopted family of chimpanzees. Rescued from experimental labs,zoos and circuses,these poor beings have seen,heard and felt things that would make a grown man cry . Some of them damage themselves when angry or scared. Yet,at Fauna,they all leave their dark past behind,looking forward to a tranquil and happy future.

It is truly amazing how complex the personality of each chimp is: from the practical joker Binky,AKA the Bub,to Sue Ellen,who likes tall bearded men,to Pepper,who had the heart to kiss one of the guys working in the lab that tried all kinds of stuff on her(I will NEVER forget that scene),to the legendary father/grandpa figure,Tom,a stunningly intelligent chimp who learned to treat his wounds,every chimp has a story,and all their stories build up this powerful,inspiring,gritty,funny,warm-hearted jewel of a book,like a vivid tapestry of both the cruelty and the compassion in human nature.  I thank both Gloria Grow,whose heart and determination has saved 13 lives,and Andrew Westoll,for a chimp story for the ages. 10 stars out of 5.

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