Bonobo Conservation Initiative

Our Mission is to protect bonobos (Pan paniscus), preserve their tropical rainforest habitat, and empower local communities in the Congo Basin. By working with local Congolese people through cooperative conservation and community development programs, and by shaping national and international policy, the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) is establishing new protected areas and leading efforts to safeguard bonobos wherever they are found. The Bonobo Peace Forest (BPF) is the guiding vision of BCI: a connected network of community-based reserves and conservation concessions, supported by sustainable development. The Peace Forest provides protection for bonobos and other species in the Congo...
Sep 6, 2013

Building Local Capacity and Learning More About Kokolopori

Survey training
Survey training

Bonobo conservation efforts have often been hampered by lack of information. To better understand bonobos and their habitat, BCI and partners conducted an extensive survey of the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve, thanks to support from the USFW Great Ape Conservation Fund. The results are enlightening, and they point the way to more effective and efficient protection strategies.

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute provided training in standard scientific methodologies to local survey teams.  The teams then conducted a thorough census of the Kokolopori Reserve using these techniques. Smaller scale surveys have taken place previously, and this most recent survey—the first to cover the entire reserve—has yielded a wealth of new information. Of all of the discoveries, perhaps the most exciting is the evidence of a thriving bonobo presence in the reserve. Previous estimates had put the population at around 1000 bonobos, and this new research raises that estimate to 1800, making the Kokolopori Reserve home to one of the largest bonobo populations discovered to date. In addition to bonobo sightings, monitoring teams reported sightings of the rare Salongo monkey (Cercopithecus dryas), a critically endangered species never studied outside of Kokolopori.

As much as the survey highlighted the species that live in Kokolopori, it also revealed the threats to their survival. Direct encounters with hunters took place on the periphery of the reserve to the south and east. River access points were hotbeds of poacher activity, as bushmeat is most readily transported on the water. These findings, though troubling, point the way to future conservation strategies. More eco-guards are needed in these areas to ensure the continued wellbeing of all of the animals living within this vital region of rainforest.

BCI, local partner Vie Sauvage, and the newly trained field teams continue to monitor the reserve and gain invaluable information about the Kokolopori bonobos, other key species, and overall biodiversity. The scientific training provided by the Max Planck Institute will continue to bolster the local Congolese communities' ability to manage and protect the forests that they share with bonobos. 

As always, none of our work would be possible without your support. Thank you for all that you do, and please remember to spread the word!

In the field
In the field
The Critically Endangered Salongo monkey
The Critically Endangered Salongo monkey
A Kokolopori bonobo
A Kokolopori bonobo
Jun 10, 2013

Embodying the Bonobo's Spirit of Cooperation

Supplies on their trip from Kinshasa to Kokolopori
Supplies on their trip from Kinshasa to Kokolopori

Eco-guards and trackers are the first line of defense for bonobos in the Congolese rainforest. The remote communities where these essential protectors and their families live are far from any modern medical facility. They have little to no access to any form of healthcare or even basic medicines. To address this issue BCI, along with local partner Vie Sauvage, has developed the pilot “Bonobo Clinic” program to provide essential medical care to people who within the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve.

Recently BCI, in collaboration with its partners and other donors, provided much needed medical supplies to the clinic.  For anyone living in a more developed area of the world, it can be hard to imagine the challenges of transporting cargo to a remote area of the rainforest. Several steps are involved, and the efforts of many people and organizations are required to get the cargo where it needs to go.

Drawing upon the cooperative nature of the bonobo, BCI worked with a corporate sponsor, regional airlines and local partners to acquire and transport medical supplies from the capital of Kinshasa to the village of Yalokole, site of the Bonobo Clinic. A grant from the Orange Foundation  enabled BCI to purchase the provisions in Kinshasa. CAA Airlines (Compagnie African d’Aviation) generously donated the shipping to Mbandaka, the site of BCI’s provincial office. From there, Aviation Sans Frontières (ASF) transported the supplies by bush plane to Djolu, at discounted rate. In Djolu, members of BCI’s partner organization Vie Sauvage recovered the shipment from the bush plane and loaded it into our well-traveled Land Cruiser. Then, they took the daylong journey to the health clinic in Yalokole, where the shipment–which included antibiotics, antimalarial and antiparasitic drugs, syringes, bandages, and mosquito nets–was gratefully received!

By following the example of bonobos, we were able to work together to ensure the health of the members of our team who are at the front lines in protecting these peaceful apes. As always, none of our work would be possible without your support. Thank you for all that you do, and please remember to spread the word!

Kokolopori resident visiting the Bonobo Clinic
Kokolopori resident visiting the Bonobo Clinic
Mar 13, 2013

Make Your Gift Mean 30% More on March 13

Bonobo Profile
Bonobo Profile

Thank you so much for supporting our bonobo conservation efforts through GlobalGiving. With your help, we are changing lives—human and bonobo alike—in the Congo rainforest. Thanks to caring people like you, bright Congolese students have educational opportunities, Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve residents receive lifesaving medical care, and trackers and eco-guards can feed their families--earning their income not from hunting bonobos, but from protecting them. Right now, a baby bonobo is being born in Kokolopori, or Sankuru, or Lilungu, and she has a brighter future because you took the time to reach out and lend a hand.

Now you can make your gift go 30% further. On Wednesday, March 13, starting at 9AM EDT, GlobalGiving will match donations at 30% up to $1,000 per donor per project! There is $50,000 available in matching funds and matching will last until funds run out or 11:59 pm EDT.

Think about what 30% can do. If you give $100, you can pay an eco-guard’s salary for two months. The extra $30 can provide essential equipment, like binoculars and headlamps. Every dollar helps, and on March 13, it helps 30% more.

 You make our work possible. On behalf of the bonobos, thank you.

Young bonobo relaxing
Young bonobo relaxing
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