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Andrew Westoll

Author, Journalist

In my previous life, I worked as a primatologist, which is just a fancy word for someone who studies monkeys in the jungle. For one whole year, I was like a male version of Jane Goodall, minus the physical endurance, scientific breakthroughs and universal acclaim.

I traded the real jungle for the concrete one a long time ago, but my experiences with wild animals still inform a lot of my work. Most of my writing explores one corner or another of our fraught, curious and ever-evolving relationship with the natural world.

My newest book is The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, the true story of a remarkable family of chimpanzees who spent decades as test subjects in a biomedical research lab, and who are now slowly recovering in an animal sanctuary near Montreal. I am also the author of The Riverbones (Surinam in the U.K.), which is a travel memoir based on my five-month search for a rare blue frog in the jungles of Suriname.

The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary

The Fauna chimphouse is many things: a rollicking retirement home, a rehabilitation centre, a maximum security prison, and a Montreal deli at the lunchtime rush. One of my goals while writing this book was to bring the reader deep inside the chaos and cacophony of the chimphouse, to help them feel the constant surprise, anxiety, and helplessness Gloria Grow herself feels as she looks after 13 traumatized chimpanzees.
02/06/2012 12:09 EST