“I am worried they will all be gone one day”

Lou Grossfeldt is BOS Australia’s longest-serving committee member and an internationally renowned expert in great ape conservation and primate husbandry and management. 

Together with writer David Blissett, she wrote ‘Amanka Stories: Saving the Last Apes’. It comes highly recommended and is Lou’s and David’s second book project together after ‘Our Primate Family’.

We talked with Lou about her new book for our newsletter, ‘Forest Chatter’. Check out the interview below, and don’t forget to order your copy now!


Could you please tell our readers what ‘Amanka’ means and what the book is about?

Amanka is a word used by people living in the rural northwest of Uganda. It means ‘Family’. Dave Blissett and I wrote this book to raise awareness of the plight of our ape family and to share the stories of the unsung heroes who are trying to help them. It’s about amazing people we met along our journey who inspired us.


One of the many people who inspired you is Jane Goodall.

I feel very blessed that I was able to spend time with Jane Goodall in my career. One of the highlights for me was being on a plane with her. We talked about the power of telling conservation through stories to motivate people to conserve and appreciate wildlife.


Is there a story in your book that touched you in particular?

It’s the collaboration, the sum of all stories, that makes the book so exciting. I think we often operate in silos, and we could get so much further along if we had a shared platform. Getting so many people together who were willing to share their stories is what probably touched me most.


What message do you hope people take away from reading your book?

I hope people understand that conservation is about thinking globally but acting locally. It’s about making sustainable choices and finding joy in the small things again. I am very worried that if we don’t reconnect with our ape family and nature and wildlife in general, they will all be gone one day.


Amanka Stories: Saving the Last Apes

Lou Grossfeldt, David Blissett

Melbourne Books, 2021

ISBN: 9781925556704

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