The Last Great Ape: A Journey Through Africa and a Fight for the Heart of the Continent
by Ofir Drori and David McDannald
An epic journey through Africa by a man who fell in love with a disappearing world and transformed himself into an activist fighting to protect it.
Staging heart-pounding, espionage-style raids, Ofir Drori and his organization, The Last Great Ape (LAGA), have put more than a thousand poachers and traffickers of endangered species behind bars, and they’ve fought back against a culture of corruption in countries where the Minister of Wildlife is sometimes an ivory dealer.
The Last Great Ape follows a young Ofir on adventures as he crosses Africa by camel, on a horse, and in dug-out canoes, while living with remote tribes and struggling against nature at its rawest: charging elephants and hyenas, flash floods, the need to eat river algae and snails to stay alive. The story moves from places of beauty to those of horror: the war zones of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Ofir begins to work as a photojournalist in order to expose his encounters with war victims and child soldiers. His experiences forge in him a resolution to change his own life.
The search for a cause eventually leads him to Cameroon. When Ofir discovers that no one is fighting to disprove Jane Goodall’s dark prophesy that apes in the wild will be extinct in twenty years, he decides that he is the man to step in. He knows he has the power to make a difference, and thus sees it as his responsibility. And LAGA is born.
The Last Great Ape is a story of the fight against extinction, not just of animals but of people struggling to hold onto their culture. Ofir makes the case that activism and dedication to a cause are still relevant in a cynical modern world. The story is one of courage and hope and, most importantly, a search for meaning.
“Skillful storytelling…readers who share Drori’s affection for Africa or his passionate animal activism will not be disappointed.” – Publisher’s Weekly
Ofir Drori is an Israeli who has built a growing network of wildlife activists across Africa. A former army officer, educator, journalist, photographer, and adventurer, he has spent the past decades in two dozen different African countries. He is the founder and director of Eagle, an organization that operates in a dozen African countries and fights corruption on behalf of conservation, democracy, and the rule of law. http://www.eagle-enforcement.org/
Follow Ofir on Twitter.
David McDannald is an American writer, who lives on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. He has published in such journals as TriQuarterly, New Letters, and The American Scholar. He and Ofir met in Kenya in 2000 and became best friends. Check out davidmcdannald.com.