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The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  935 ratings  ·  159 reviews
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, an old folks' home, and a New York deli during the lunchtime rush all rolled into one. But she is first and foremost creating a refuge ...more
Hardcover, First Canadian Edition, 268 pages
Published 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
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Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, nonfiction
Years ago I lived a long time in a populous third-world country. I remember saying to a friend living in the U.S. that a focus on animal rights seemed a distraction in view of human living conditions around the globe. She gave me a look I can still see to this day and have thought about many times since. "Why are we more important than every other living species?" and "What would our lives be like without other species?" she could have asked. There is no doubt in my mind that we must be more min ...more
I love learning while reading and this book has added greatly to my knowledge. Prior to reading it, I had no idea that Canada has a sanctuary for chimpanzees. It is in the province of Quebec. And I was not aware that in the United States chimps are used in studies and tests, undergoing numerous biopsies, injections and operations. Using chimps for these studies and tests has been proven to be unnecessary. There is so much more.

Thanks to Canadian narrative journalist and author Andrew Westoll fo
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had absolutely no idea that less than 500 kms away from me, in the cold and wintery province of Quebec, there are living a whole bunch of traumatized chimpanzees who have suffered beyond belief under the hands of researchers and lab techs conducting experiments which ultimately led to basically nothing to advance human health.

I'm already an animal rights person. I'm a paying member of PETA. I've been vegetarian for 28 years. I'm raising three kids who have never tasted meat. I would never wea
James Creechan
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book and a relatively quick read. The author was trained as a primatologist in the South American Rainforest where he studied wild capuchin monkeys. But in this book, he worked as a volunteer for a year in a Canadian sanctuary for chimpanzees who had been rescued and released from Medical research laboratories (private and government( in the United States. He was invited into the Fauna Sanctuary outside of Montreal by Gloria Grow who established this refuge and is its princip ...more
Tamara Taylor
I am having a hard time deciding how I feel about this book. It tells the vivid and horrific tale of chimps used in biomedical research. The treatment and social isolation of these creatures is appalling and disturbing. Enter the kind hearted people of Fauna Sanctuary who give the chimps a second lease on life. LOVE.

What I do have a problem with is that I don't feel that "life" is equivalent to "quality life". Allowing animals with diseased organs from years of biomedical testing, severe anxiet
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll, centers on a subject that frankly makes people uncomfortable. Since the 1930s, Chimpanzees and other primates have been used for scientific experiments ranging from flying to the moon to medical research, most notably in relation to Hepatitis and HIV. Can living in a tiny cage your whole life, and being subjected to several surgical procedures a month really affect an animal who's never known any other way? You bet your front teeth it can!

Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
A friend of mine read this book in one day, so I was excited to read it. I was not disappointed. This is a book that is mainly about chimpanzees, but it encompasses many different things. It's the story about a sanctuary that housed 13 chimpanzees who have been damaged by lab research, or abandoned by zoos or the circus. Primatologist turned journalist Andrew Westoll spends 10 weeks working at the Fauna Sanctuary, located in Quebec. He tells the story of the chimps, but also of the people who ar ...more
❀ Susan G
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am writing this review through tears. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an eye opening story of the horrors of animal testing yet shows the compassion and care of people like Gloria Grow and her team that work diligently to provide a better retirement for these amazing chimpanzees. It is a lesson in resilience and perseverance as the team understood the chimp's personalities and individual challenges. It is shocking to realize the horror of what these magnificent beings have endured yet to see ...more
Kathleen McFall
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book and I recommend it. Andrew Westoll has made an important contribution to the ongoing debate in society about the use of non-human primates in biomedical research.

Through Westoll's words, we journey with him as he accumulates experiences, facts and revelations during his guest stint as a writer/worker at Fauna Sanctuary, a rescued chimp sanctuary.

We learn details about the daily life and needs of chimps (they like tea and smoothies, and smell very bad), about their human
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A true story, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, serves as permanent retirement home for chimps which were used in biomedical research and experimentation. The sanctuary, founded in 1997, is located on a 240 acre farm outside of Montreal. It's founder Gloria Grow originally used a portion of the property as a dog rescue refuge for puppy mill dogs.

The author Andrew Westoll, hoping to gain more knowledge about how the chimps transitioned from the research labs, and often cruel experimentation, to life
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is equal parts heartbreaking, and hopeful - and completely fascinating. Author Andrew Westoll spent several months volunteering at Fauna Sanctuary, a huge farm and sanctuary for retired and rescued lab chimpanzees. Its founder, Gloria Grow,has made it her life mission to give back to the chimps who have given up so much. The chimps' stories are personal and heartbreaking; subjected to years of medical research, they are both psychologically and physically damaged. They've been infected ...more
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 500s
In Fauna Sanctuary Gloria Grow rescues animals. There are dogs, horses, swans, a donkey, and of course the chimpanzees. Most were retired from research facilities where they were the subjects of medical research into Hepatitis, HIV, and the like. There are a few who were circus chimps. Some of them started life as pets, cute little chimps to dress up and play with, until they grew too big and strong and dangerous. Anyone who heard of Travis and his attack on Charla Nash knows that a chimp is not ...more
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Andrew Westroll, tells the heart breaking true life stories of chimps living on a 240 acre farm near Montreal. Westroll volunteered to work for the sanctuary's founder, Gloria Grow for several months. He got to know the individual chimps and learned their terrifying histories.
We learn that the US is the only country still permitting biomedical research on chimps. Attempts are being made to pass legislation banning the practice.
Arguments have been made that although chimps and humans ha
Apr 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Actually a 4.5 Star read!

This book is hard to review because it is a necessary story, a hard story and a story that shows how ruddy right shitty human beings can be; the hard part comes from not wanting to be a hard-ass on author Westoll for some less than stellar passages and other cliché moments of self-inspection. Please know that Westoll is a journalist and was, briefly, a primatologist - living for one year in Suriname to study. He comes from a research, scientific and fact background. He s
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is a heartwarming, eye-opening, and heartbreaking story of Gloria Grow and the chimps she is providing sanctuary to in Canada. Westoll tells of his personal time at Fauna, as well as the history of human interactions with chimps and the individual histories of each amazing chimp living at Fauna. I laughed at the antics and developing relationship between the author and the chimps. They all have such individual personalities. I cried as I read over the horrendous ord ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: outcasts, non-fiction
This book is hard to read. Not because it's written poorly, but because the subject matter is hard to face.

Westoll, who has a background in primate anthropology (I use those words on purpose), spent a summer as a volunteer at Fauna Sanctuary - the only Canadian accredited chimp sanctuary. Located in Quebec, this sanctuary is where chimps who were used in medical research and/or worked in small circuses or zoos go to die.

What the Grow family have set up is a place where they can have a better res
Jennifer Keenan
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot believe the torture these Chimps go through throughout their "career" in these biomedical testing facilities. I cannot stop thinking about each and everyone of them. Andrew Westoll's writing helped me to think about things from a chimp's point of view and also from a human's stand point. (not so different) I felt that I was pretty knowledgeable on this topic before reading this book but boy was I wrong. I admire Gloria Grow and all of her staff for doing everything in their power to giv ...more
Darcia Helle
Andrew Westoll takes us inside a chimpanzee sanctuary, where he spends months getting to know those who live there. Many of these chimps were rescued from biomedical research labs. The abuse they suffered is heartbreaking. Their resilience and willingness to forgive humans is astounding. No matter which side of the fence you're on with animal research, this is a must read.

** I received this ebook as an advanced readers copy from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley. **
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was biased to like this book before I even started reading it because of the subject matter. I'd watched a documentary about the chimps at Fauna Sanctuary a couple years ago that both broke and expanded my heart. After some time for reflection and thought I was ready to learn more. That's what this book was for me. A way to put my foot further in the door.

It's well-written, personal and engaging. I recommend it to everyone. Everyone.

You will cry.
Allison Matthews
I wish every single person in this country would read this book.
Heather Anne
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fascinating and heartbreaking. I will never comprehend the levels of evil we are capable of. I had never heard of this sanctuary before, but am thrilled to discover it's only about two hours from home; I'm hoping to be able to attend one of their symposiums. The work these people are doing is necessary, selfless, and involves a stunning amount of labour. The mental images of the biomed labs and all of the nameless chimps driven to psychosis because of what humankind is putting them ...more
Caroline Griffin
The chimpanzees of Andrew Westoll's riveting book endured decades of brutal medical experimentation prior to their transfer to Fauna Sanctuary. Primatologist Andrew Westoll's first-hand account of their daily struggles and progress is provocative and compelling, as is his account of the selfless caretakers who have dedicated their lives to help these primates heal. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an inspiring story of redemption that every animal advocate should read.
I read it as part of the Canada Reads 2019 longlist. Before reading this, I was completely ignorant about the existence of the sanctuary and the work that Gloria Grow has been doing for these beautiful animals! It was so heartbreaking to read at some parts and so heartwarming at another. Just found out today that it didn't make the shortlist, which is too bad!
Ada Hoffmann
This was an interesting and, at times, frustrating book. I'm struck by the stories of the chimpanzees and of how awful medical research with apes can be, but I'm even more struck by the weird parallels I kept noticing by the way that the author describes Gloria, the head of the sanctuary, and the ways that the caregivers of disabled humans are often described. This is probably my own issue and I'm not even really sure what I think of it; I'm going to be chewing on this one for a while.
Annette Supruniuk
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heart wrenching yet so informative. Loved this book!
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadiana
One of my goals this year is to read more Non-Fiction books, so when I heard about The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll (HarperCollins), I knew it was a perfect choice for me. I love all animals but I have always had a really special place in my heart for Great Apes, including chimps. I ordered a copy from a great bookstore in Kingston, ON called A Novel Idea and was sad that I had to leave town before it arrived. Next time my boyfriend came for a visit, he brought with him my copy of ...more
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The world needs more people like Gloria Grow, and her friends and family. The world needs more people to speak up for those animals who can't vocalize their needs. The world needs more people like Andrew Westoll, to tell the stories of lab chimps. Honestly, this book was a wonderful, informational, heartfelt story of 13 chimps that were retired to a sanctuary in Canada. I don't know what more to write about this book for a review (perhaps I should do it a little later when the ending of this boo ...more
Mar 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chimps of Fauna sanctuary was...ehhh, pretty good.
I think the general knowledge contained within it was gorgeous and interesting and engaging. How the information is presented, however, can be confusing and sketchy at some times - Andrew Westoll, it seems, needs to work on his journaling.

But again, behind the mediocre writing was an incredibly captivating story of chimpanzee pyschology and behavior. I'm a huge fan of ethology so that's probably what hooked me - and hooked me it did. (Not sure if
Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is at its best when it focuses on the chimps themselves and their stories of trauma, of rehabilitation, of idiosyncrasies and on Westoll's own reactions to them and how he changes as a result of his time at the sanctuary. When it does this, the book is unputdownable. Less successful is the extent to which Westoll's own activism made it into the pages of the book; his need to have us, the reader, do something about the plight of the lab chimps. He could have achieved ...more
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
** I won this book through Good Reads First Reads**

I loved this book!

I think I liked the author's writing style the most. He had a wonderful way of keeping me engaged in the story. I think the subchapters helped that as well.

Even after reading this book, I am still on the fence about animal testing. But I loved learning about some of those chimps that have been rescued from the labs. They each had a very unique personality and some of the stories were very emotional. This book definitely helps m
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There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
55 likes · 17 comments
“Harlow's results showed that a mother's reassuring gentle touch —what Harlow called "contact comfort"—is a more important factor in an infant's world than food. The journalist Deborah Blum, in her excellent biography of Harlow, Love at Goon Park, summarizes his initial findings: that for a baby primate, "food is sustenance but a good hug is life itself.” 0 likes
“The United States is the only developed nation that still subjects chimpanzees to invasive research and testing.” 0 likes
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