A Chimp in the Family by Vince Smith
The True Story of Two Infants--One Human, One Chimpanzee--Growing Up Together

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In 1990, when Vince Smith—currently manager of the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund's mountain gorilla conservation program— was working as a senior keeper at Chester Zoo in the English countryside, a newborn chimpanzee in his care was abandoned by her mother. Named Sophie, the infant chimp was taken home and hand-reared by Vince and his wife. Six months later another new baby arrived: Oliver, their son. A Chimp in the Family is the compelling and entertaining account of Sophie's life. Vince Smith vividly describes the parallel upbringing of Sophie and Oliver—through her early years with Vince and his family, her traumatic journey back to the zoo and her unsuccessful efforts to socialize with other chimps, her repatriation to Africa and reunion with her human foster family, and her integration in a semi-wild group of chimpanzees. A book both humorous (a family outing with both babies to the local pizzeria) and ultimately heartbreaking, A Chimp in the Family provides fascinating photographs and insights into the nature of our closest-living relatives—as well as the nature of human development.

About Vince Smith

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Smith holds an MSc in Behavioral Ecology and has devoted much of his life to wildlife conservation. From 1987-93 he was a senior keeper of apes at Chester Zoo, while also working as a consultant for the Jane Goodall Institute in the Republic of Congo. In 1993 he left England to set up and manage the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Nanyuki, Kenya. Since January 2000 he has been living in Rwanda, where he is the regional director for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Published March 29, 2004 by Da Capo Press. 272 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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In this engrossing story, Smith, Sophie's foster "parent," takes readers on a fascinating interspecies journey of love, heartache and the frustrations and joys of primatology.

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