Andrew Westoll spent months at Fauna Sanctuary, a refuge for thirteen chimps rescued from a research lab, as a volunteer caregiver. In The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, Westoll vividly recounts his adventures 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. Tom proves the greatest teacher to the indomitable Gloria Grow, who presides over the sanctuary. Through Westoll’s eyes, we witness the chimps’ remarkable recovery first-hand. Simple things like establishing friendships, nurturing alliances, grooming one another and playing games of tickle-chase are all poignant testament to the capacity of these animals to heal—and to learn how to be chimps again.
Former primatologist Westoll (The Riverbones) investigates the psychological and physical trauma endured by chimpanzees used in biomedical research labs. Going on hiatus from his job as a journalist, he cares for the chimps at their new home the Fauna Sanctuary, a Quebec refuge for animals. He cooks for them, plays with them, and learns their horror stories: in the name of science, Sue Ellen's teeth were knocked out with a hammer; Chance spent the first five years of her life in isolation; Tom was repeatedly injected with strains of HIV for 30 years and was knocked unconscious more than 369 times. A distressing, deeply important expos of the suffering we have inflicted on our closest animal relation, the ethics of animal testing, and finally (and happily) a heartening picture of Fauna Sanctuary's commitment and compassion. Photos.