Voices from the Ape House

By Beth Armstrong

Voices from the Ape House book cover
Added February 9, 2021

In this memoir, former zookeeper Beth Armstrong takes readers behind the scenes at Columbus, Ohio’s famed zoo to experience the complicated social lives of western lowland gorillas and the profound privilege of working with them. Bongo, Toni, Jumoke, and, of course, Colo—the world’s first gorilla born in captivity—were just some of the individuals who inspired and shaped Armstrong’s commitment to improving gorilla husbandry and to encouraging her zoo’s involvement in protecting gorillas in the wild. Her recollections give readers a glimpse into the fascinating world of gorillas—the familiar gentleness of parents toward infants, power plays and social climbing, teenagers’ exuberance, the capacity for humor, and the gorillas’ grief as they mourn the death of one of their own. In the end, Armstrong’s conflicted feelings around captivity and her lifelong fondness for these animals helped shape a zoo program known for its dedication to gorilla conservation.

Find Book in Print