printed copy

The Intimate Ape

Shawn Thompson, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

ISBN 9780806531335
Publish Date 2/23/2010
Format Trade Paperback
Categories General, Science, Citadel
Currently out of stock

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“Kusasi is a three-hundred-pound male who could rip your arms and legs off like daisy petals if he wanted. Princess was taught sign language by a researcher and had a limited ability to combine vocabulary….”

For centuries the shaggy red orangutan lived in peaceful seclusion in the jungles of Southeast Asia and kept the ancient secrets about its quiet, contemplative nature. But that time has come to an end, as one of the earth’s most intelligent creatures has, sadly, also become one if its vanishing species.

“I went up a muddy brown river called the Sekonyer into the jungles of southern Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, to see orangutans as they really are and to know them the way they deserve to be known…”

In The Intimate Ape, journalist Shawn Thompson brings together a global assemblage of primatologists, conservationists, and volunteers to reveal the intricate life of these majestic primates. As he travels through the steamy rainforests of Sumatra and the jungle river valleys of Borneo, visiting nature preserves and observing conservation programs, Thompson describes the emotional and intellectual lives of orangutans and recognizes the people who have committed their lives to understand, protect, and ultimately rescue this powerful yet sensitive relation of humanity.

“An extraordinary book that adds to our understanding of the animal world.” —From the Foreword by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

After 17 years as a reporter, photographer, and editor at newspapers in Ontario, Shawn Thompson became a full-time assistant professor in the journalism department at Thompson Rivers University, in British Columbia, Canada. He has traveled the world to find orangutans and interview orangutan scientists, including trips to Sumatra and Borneo (the only places in the world where orangutans are found in the wild), Java, the Philippines, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United States. He lives in the small city of Kamloops, in the mountainous interior of British Columbia. This is his sixth book. Please visit his website devoted to orangutans,

The experts praise The Intimate Ape

“An extraordinary book that adds to our understanding of the animal world.” --Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep

“Heartfelt, humanistic . . . makes a compelling case for why we should save the orangutans and how we can do that by protecting their natural habitat - the rainforest.” --Tensie Whelan, President, The Rainforest Alliance

"A gripping eco-travelogue." --Peter Fairley, member of the board of the Society of Environmental Journalists

"A fantastic read! Thompson’s insightful portrayal of orangutans connects us with ourselves and with our humanity." --Leif Cocks, president of the Australian Orangutan Project

“An excellent book . . . vivid, unforgettable, rich, and readable.” --Bernard E. Rollin, author of Animal Rights and Human Morality

“A thrilling and intimate journey into the heart of the orangutan's jungle world . . . unforgettable.” --Osha Gray Davidson, author of Fire in the Turtle House

“"A wondrous adventure story laying bare a fight for good in the face of tremendous odds.".” --Gisela Kaplan, author of The Orangutans: Their Evolution, Behavior, and Future

Intimate Ape panel at the Fresno Zoo, March 13, 2010. Left to right: Shawn Thompson, Lyn Myers (assistant curator, orangutans), Bruce Campbell, Trish Campbell, Dr. Gary Shapiro (Orang Utan Republik), Michelle Desilets (Orangutan Land Trust) and Professor Richard Haas. Photo by Wendy Chang

Click here to listen to J. P. Taylor’s new song, “I Want to Be an Orangutan,” which was inspired by The Intimate Ape.

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