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 and an
old folks' home 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, journalist Andrew Westoll
spent months at Fauna Sanctuary as a volunteer, and in this book he
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 towards Westoll as he learns the routines of life at the
farm and realizes just how far the chimps have come.
Brimming with empathy and winning stories of Gloria and her
charges, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an absorbing,
big-hearted book that grapples with questions of just what we owe
to the animals who are our nearest genetic relations.