The true story of an adventurer-turned-warrior fighting poachers and traffickers to protect animals from extinction.
Staging heart-pounding, espionage-style raids, Ofir Drori and his organization, The Last Great Ape (LAGA), have put countless poachers and traffickers of endangered species behind bars, and they have fought back against a Kafkaesque culture of corruption. Before Ofir arrived in Cameroon, no one had ever even tried.
The Last Great Ape follows a young Ofir on fantastical adventures as he crosses remote African lands by camel, on a horse, and in dug-out canoes, while living with exotic tribes and struggling against nature at its rawest: charging elephants and hyenas, flash floods, and the need to eat river algae and snails to stay alive. The story moves from places of extreme beauty to those of the darkest horror: the war zones of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Ofir begins to work as a photojournalist in order to expose his shocking encounter with war victims and child soldiers. His experiences forge in him a resolution to become an activist and to fight for justice.
The search for a cause eventually leads him to Cameroon. When Ofir discovers that no one is fighting to disprove Jane Goodall's dark prophesy that apes in the wild will be extinct in twenty years, he decides that he is the man to step in; because he knows he can make a difference, he sees it as his responsibility. And LAGA is born.
The Last Great Ape is a story of the fight against extinction and the tragedy of endangered worlds, not just of animals but of people struggling to hold onto their culture. This book reveals the intense beauty and strife that exist side by side in Africa, and Ofir makes the case that activism and dedication to a cause are still relevant in a cynical modern world. This dangerous and dramatic story is one of courage and hope and, most importantly, a search for meaning.
Nearly from the time I could talk, I d planned to travel to Africa, a place as different as I wanted to think I was, writes Drori in his call-to-action memoir. The book opens where it will eventually end, with an arrest of African poachers made possible by Drori s NGO, the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA). Most of the book, however, relates Drori s love affair with Africa, starting with a trip to Kenya in 1994. A former Israeli army officer, Drori lives at the edge of death. Fearless, his search for adventure in Africa verges on recklessness: he travels solo without enough food or water, arrives in dangerous cities on the verge of revolution, and barely escapes a bus accident in Nigeria. Initially drawn to his charisma, some friends and lovers ultimately reject him for his intensity. But he is a man in search of a cause and he finds it in Future, a chimp he saves from being sold as bushmeat. Skillful storytelling saves the book from being a marketing piece for LAGA and its founder, though readers who share Drori s affection for Africa or his passionate animal activism will not be disappointed.