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This is a story I first heard five years ago when Jo Blackmore, the woman who owns Granville Island Publishing, asked me to write this book. Jo was acting on behalf of a film company who intended to produce a TV series featuring Gary and the animals and exploring the themes driving Gary’s passion for animals and ecology. The book was intended to raise Gary’s profile in advance of the series. However, the TV series never happened and the book never got published because the client disappeared. The entire project got stalled.

Jo and I were both sad to see this happen. We felt Gary’s life story made good reading and deserved to be told. I’d loved hearing his stories during the many hours of interviews.

Then, in the spring of 2010, came a calamity for Gary. British Columbia’s Department of Fish and Wildlife introduced legislation banning the importation and ownership of “dangerous” animals. The list included many of the animals Gary had rescued and that were now under his care. Gary called me. My background includes years as a television journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. This story cried out to be tracked and captured. Would he be able to save the animals
and Cinemazoo?

Not surprisingly, becoming immersed in this struggle provoked thoughts of the many events and adventures in Gary’s life leading up to the current one and captured in the autobiography presented here. Jo was game to publish and so we decided now was the time to tell the story about this fascinating character.  (Wendy Bancroft)

 

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