Eve's Reviews > The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery

The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll
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's review
Aug 04, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, read-2011
Read from August 04 to 14, 2011

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!

Journalist and primologist, Andrew Westoll, decides to volunteer as caregiver at the Fauna Sanctuary ran/owned by Gloria Grow. It is home to a variety of animals that have been mistreated or abandoned by previous owners. The most infamous inhabitants of this retreat are the 13 chimps that Grow rescued from the notorious LEMSIP research lab, most of which are HIV positive. Each one of their stories will break your heart. Some of the passages were hard to read; I broke down at times in sobs, which is why I had to stop reading it on my daily commutes to work.

Animal lovers may be leary of this read. Don't be. Like the title mentions, this book is about resilience. Despite being used and abused by humans all of their lives, these animals still have room in their hearts for the earnest-hearted humans that care for them. They can find joy in small pleasures like ripe fruit and sunshine, things they never experienced before. Especially important is the awareness that this book raises; currently the United States is the only country that still uses chimpanzees for medical research. I had no idea!

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08/05/2011 page 35
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn "Especially important is the awareness that this book raises; currently the United States is the only country that still uses chimpanzees for medical research. I had no idea!"

Ohmygosh, that is horrible! I had no idea, either.

Sounds like a very powerful book. I am glad the focus is on resilience. I volunteer at a cat sanctuary and it's heartbreaking some of the things those sweet souls have been through, yet almost all of them have recovered, found joy in life and learned to trust and love humans again. It's remarkable and inspiring!

message 2: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Eve wrote: "I can only imagine what it would be like to volunteer at a shelter! You are a special person! I get worked up about animals too because they can't express themselves and people forget about them. S..."

Thank you :-) Most of the time, it's very happy and soothing work because we are a no-kill shelter. Still, it is very hard sometimes, seeing how some of the cats come in and also dealing with those who are at the end of their natural lives since they get to stay at the sanctuary if they aren't adopted.

I'm glad there are books like this out there to help make people more aware about animal rights.

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