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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: 9721142
Published: 2003 Piatkus Books
Amazon price $21.38
Marketplace:New from $16.14:Used from $0.98
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0749950013
Salesrank: 1648092
Weight:1.46 lbs
Published: 2003 Piatkus Books
Marketplace:New from £17.39:Used from £0.01
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0749950013
Salesrank: 3820093
Weight:1.46 lbs
Published: 2003 Piatkus Books LTD
Amazon price CDN$ 21.48
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 21.48:Used from CDN$ 2.16
Buy from Amazon.ca