Pamela S. Turner

Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes

“Clear­ly Turn­er is com­mit­ted to telling an impor­tant sto­ry with accu­ra­cy, and she has the lit­er­ary prowess for the job.”

—San Fran­cis­co Chronicle

Gorilla Doctors

About the Book

Moun­tain goril­las are play­ful, curi­ous, and fierce­ly pro­tec­tive of their fam­i­lies. They are also one of the most endan­gered species in the world. For many years, goril­las have faced death at the hands of poach­ers. More recent­ly, “goril­la tourism”—bringing peo­ple into the for­est to see these majes­tic animals—has helped pro­tect goril­las from poach­ing. Yet close con­tact between goril­las and peo­ple has cre­at­ed a new threat to moun­tain goril­las: human disease.

The Goril­la Doc­tors are a group of coura­geous and tal­ent­ed sci­en­tists work­ing to save the moun­tain goril­las. They study the effects of human expo­sure, pro­vide emer­gency care to injured ani­mals, and even act as fos­ter par­ents to an orphaned baby goril­la named Fearless!

Awards and Recognition

  • Amer­i­can Library Asso­ci­a­tion Notable Book
  • Flo­ra Stiglitz Straus Non­fic­tion Award
  • ASPCA Hen­ry Bergh Award
  • Kirkus Reviews starred review
  • Horn Book starred review
  • School Library Jour­nal starred review
  • Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
  • Nation­al Sci­ence Teach­ers Asso­ci­a­tion Outstanding
  • Sci­ence Trade Book
  • Junior Library Guild Selection


Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2005:
“This is a fas­ci­nat­ing look into the work of the Moun­tain Goril­la Vet­eri­nary Project. Illus­trat­ed with stun­ning pho­tographs, it is a stel­lar exam­ple of chil­dren’s non­fic­tion and a demon­stra­tion of why Houghton’s Sci­en­tists in the Field series has become some­thing of the gold stan­dard in sci­ence writ­ing. From a grip­ping open­ing, in which a goril­la cap­tured by poach­ers is freed, Turn­er goes back to write about both the dis­cov­ery of the moun­tain goril­las by sci­en­tists and their decline, and then details the efforts of the MGVP to save them. She writes equal­ly com­pelling­ly about the goril­las, and the threats to their well-being, and the humans who work so dili­gent­ly on their behalf.”

The San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle:
“This new addi­tion to the Sci­en­tists in the Field series rep­re­sents the best in sci­ence writ­ing. Clear­ly Turn­er is com­mit­ted to telling an impor­tant sto­ry with accu­ra­cy, and she has the lit­er­ary prowess for the job.”

School Library Jour­nal starred review:
“Turn­er intro­duces the work of the Moun­tain Goril­la Vet­eri­nary Project … the read­able text records their efforts to treat the great apes in the field as they encounter poach­ers, meet with the loss of habi­tat, and face their newest threat: dis­ease that can cross species lines.”

Horn Book starred review:
“Excel­lent pho­tographs promi­nent­ly fea­ture the sci­en­tists at work (pre­dom­i­nant­ly women and peo­ple of col­or in sci­en­tif­ic roles) as well as the pho­to­genic gorillas …”

Kirkus Reviews starred review:
“What to do when a wild goril­la has the flu? Time to send for a field vet­eri­nar­i­an like Dr. Feli­cia Nut­ter of Rwan­da’s Moun­tain Goril­la Project. This vet makes jun­gle calls, track­ing down and treat­ing the ail­ing goril­la in the wild … An out­stand­ing nature sci­ence title.”

Gorilla Doctors

Sci­en­tists in the Field
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2008
paper­back ISBN 978–0547014333

Veterinarian Felicia Nutter and Fearless
Vet­eri­nar­i­an Feli­cia Nut­ter and Fearless

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