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Vince Smith

Sophie's Story

In 1990 a baby chimp, Sophie, was abandoned by her mother at Chester Zoo. Vince Smith was a zookeeper at the zoo, and he and his wife offered to care for Sophie at his home. Sophie's Story: Raising a Chimp in the Family tells of how this turned out.

Obviously having a chimp had a significant effect on family life. The book tells of how Sophie got on with the family cats and then with Vince's son Oliver who was born some months after her. There was one episode when the family wanted to get something to eat in a restaurant, and managed to take Sophie in, hidden, without raising any suspicions. However, this book isn't about an attempt to introduce a chimp into human society - the idea was to return Sophie to the zoo as soon as she could fend for herself. Unfortunately this didn't go too well - she was constantly being attacked by other chimps.

One thing I found impressive was the Smith families adventurous spirit. They had already given up city jobs to live in a remote rural cottage, and Vince seemed willing to travel to remote parts of Africa at a moment's notice. This lead to him being offered the job of running a chimp sancturary in Kenya, of which (after a lot of persuasion) Sophie was allowed to become a part.

All in all it's a fascinating story, and whether you are interested in the life of chimpanzees, or just want to hear about a rather out of the ordinaty family, you will find this a highly enjoyable read.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0749950013
Salesrank: 6450367
Weight:1.46 lbs
Published: 2003 Piatkus Books
Marketplace:New from $21.89:Used from $1.99
Buy from Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0749950013
Salesrank: 1184624
Weight:1.46 lbs
Published: 2003 Piatkus Books
Marketplace:New from £9.96:Used from £0.01
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0749950013
Salesrank: 3211064
Weight:1.46 lbs
Published: 2003 Piatkus Books LTD
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 25.96:Used from CDN$ 1.74
Buy from Amazon.ca





Product Description
In 1990, while Vince Smith was working as a senior keeper at Chester Zoo, a newborn chimpanzee in his care was abandoned by her mother. Named Sophie, the baby chimp was taken home and hand-reared by Vince and his wife. Six months later another new baby arrived: Oliver, their son. Sophie's Story is an enthralling account of Sophie's life, taking readers on an emotional journey through her early years in the English countryside with Vince and his family; her traumatic removal from the family she adored into a captive zoo world; her repatriation to Africa and eventual reunion with her human foster family; and, finally, her integration into a semi-wild group of chimpanzees. Other accounts have been written about pet animals reared in people's homes, but this book is different: Sophie wasn't a pet. A highly personal narrative centred on a chimpanzee raised with human foster parents. Describing in detail the parallel upbringing of an infant chimp and a human child, it is an inspirational story that provides fascinating insights into the nature of our closest-living relatives - and indeed ourselves.