Annette Henderson lived and worked with gorillas in the African jungle for more than a year and has written a book about her amazing experience.
Annette Henderson lived and worked with gorillas in the African jungle for more than a year and has written a book about her amazing experience. Anna Hartley

'How gorillas changed my life'

IT WAS when Annette Henderson was embraced by a mighty adolescent gorilla that her life changed forever.

The then-29-year-old went from a secretary in Brisbane to a passionate conservationist, academic and writer thanks to the 13 months she spent deep in the African rainforest in the 1970s.

 

CONNECTION: Annette worked with gorillas in the African jungle for a year and wrote a book about her experience.
CONNECTION: Annette worked with gorillas in the African jungle for a year and wrote a book about her experience. Anna Hartley

Ms Henderson has shared her amazing story in her first novel, Wild Spirit.

"It tells the very long story of a life-changing experience," she said.

"My husband and I lived in London and decided to drive a Kombi across the Sahara desert.

 

"A few things went wrong and we ended up in the African rainforest. We were offered to take jobs in a jungle camp and that experience totally shaped my life."

When the couple first arrived at their camp, they were confronted by the hunting methods of the local population.

"They would hunt bush meat including apes and gorillas for food," she said.

The author will sign her book Wild Spirit at Bookface Orion.
The author will sign her book Wild Spirit at Bookface Orion. Anna Hartley

"Little Josie came into our care when they had shot her mother. She was tied up and rescued by one of our colleagues.

"My husband gave her some red wine, fixed her wounds with out first aid kit and we became her surrogate parents." Ms Henderson's rescue led to her first visit to an island for rehabilitated apes.Here was where she fell in love with the animals.

"In their eyes you see their intelligence, serenity and curiosity," she said.

"That day on March 13, 1976 put a fire in my belly that has never gone out."

You can meet the author at at Bookface in Orion Centre on Thursday, October 6 from 11.30am.



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