Wednesday 28 March 2012

Samantha Francis, Andrew Westoll  and Jane Goodall at film launch

Westoll and Goodall concerned about plight of Chimps 
Chimpstock at Toronto's Ontario Science Centre

Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction winner, Andrew Westoll, (The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery) was on hand at Toronto's Ontario Science Centre in late March to introduce the renowned wildlife researcher and primatology  activist Jane Goodall, to a standing-room-only theatre audience.  Over 250 people came to the Science Centre that evening to listen to Ms Goodall and to watch a screening of Jane's Journey, a 2010 107 minute bio-documentary filmed by Lorenz Knauer.
Both Westoll and Goodall share a concern for the plight chimpanzees.  They see the chimp as a species facing extinction.  " I now travel the world speaking on their behalf," said 75-year old Jane Goodall prior to the film screening. " I am on the road 300 days a year, speaking to people just like you! My message? We can save a species!"
Andrew Westoll's award winning book documents his stay at a private  Quebec  sanctuary where American chimpanzees who have grown up in laboratories and been used in horrific experiments  are allowed to live out their lives free of any more medical testing.
Westoll's book about these chimps made him a suitable choice to introduce Jane Goodall to a receptive Toronto audience.  At the podium he talked about how a meeting with Goodall ended up with him running madly through downtown Vancouver, looking for a bookstore where he could buy his own book!
" I simply picked up the hotel phone and asked to speak to Jane Goodall," he said.  " I went up to her room and we talked for over 45 minutes."
As the meeting between the two chimp experts was winding down,  Goodall, asked for a copy of his new book.  " It was then I realized I hadn't brought one with me."
He asked her to stay put in her room for a few minutes. The Toronto writer quickly exited the hotel and ran as hard as he could through the streets of downtown Vancouver, looking for a bookstore.  He bought his own book, and ran back to the hotel and out-of-breath, presented it to Goodall.
Before signing her own books at the Toronto event Jane Goodall took time out to thank Westoll for getting the book to her, and praised him for the work has done in writing about the rehabilitation of  lab chimps in Canada.