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...
Nov 27, 2012

Great Strides in 2012

Visionquest film crew in Kokolopori
Visionquest film crew in Kokolopori

Thanks to dedicated supporters like you, BCI has made great strides in 2012 toward our goal of protecting bonobos and the Congo rainforest. As a Global Giving donor, you may already know some of the year’s highlights, including the official accreditation of Djolu Technical College and the addition of Likongo as a Bonobo Peace Forest site. But your generosity has enabled us to do so much more! Here is a small sample of the past year’s achievements and the exciting opportunities ahead in 2013:

The Bonobo Peace Forest is going strong. BCI is happy to announce that, for the first time ever in the DRC, land originally set aside for logging is now being re-designated for conservation.  After a decade of preparation, BCI, Conservation International, local partners and the DRC government have launched the first conservation concession project in the Congo—and in all of central Africa. In partnership with Conservation International, we are receiving support from the Congo Basin Forest Fund to implement the Bonobo Conservation Concession.  More than 2330 square miles of rainforest comprising prime bonobo habitat will be designated for protection, thanks to this innovative strategy.

REDD+ is coming to Sankuru. With support from the UK and Norway through the Congo Basin Forest Fund, we are preparing the Sankuru Nature Reserve for participation in the UN’s REDD+ program, an initiative designed to create financial value for carbon stored in forests.  The Sankuru Community Carbon Initiative will bring many benefits to local communities over the next 25 years, empowering them to protect their forest and wildlife, while providing vital livelihood opportunities and social services.  

We’re helping to spread the word about bonobos. The first-ever 3D movie about great apes, The Last of the Great Apes, was filmed in part at the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve.  This ground-breaking film will be released to theatres next year.  We also hosted legendary filmmaker Alan Root and began laying the groundwork for future ecotourism possibilities. Last but not least, award-winning author Deni Béchard features BCI in his new book Empty Hands, Opens Arms, forthcoming from Milkweed Press next year.

Our friends, supporters, and partners made these accomplishments—and more—possible. We couldn’t do it without you.

Make your funds go even further—become a recurring donor! From December 1 through December 31, Global Giving will match 100% of your initial recurring donation, up to $100 per donor. If you’ve always been a one-time donor, or this is your first donation to BCI, please take advantage of this great promotion.  Your caring, tax-deductible donation will fund our vital on-the-ground programs month after month in 2013. Bonobos need you!  

We wish you a happy holiday season.   Let’s make the New Year a great one for bonobos!

Conservation Concessions meeting in Mbandaka
Conservation Concessions meeting in Mbandaka
Deni Bechard visits Djolu
Deni Bechard visits Djolu
A bonobo relaxing in the Bonobo Peace Forest
A bonobo relaxing in the Bonobo Peace Forest
BCI and Likongo villagers celebrate partnership
BCI and Likongo villagers celebrate partnership
Aug 27, 2012

Djolu Technical College Receives Accreditation!

Co-founder Albert Lokasola at Djolu
Co-founder Albert Lokasola at Djolu

We are thrilled to announce the official accreditation of the Djolu Technical College for Conservation and Rural Development! The decree was issued by the DRC Ministry of Higher Education in recognition of the quality of education provided by the college.

Djolu Technical College is a powerful example of the close relationship that exists between bonobos and their human neighbors. At BCI, our mission is to save bonobos and their natural habitat. This important work cannot be done without the commitment and leadership of those who care most about the Congo rainforest: the Congolese people who live there, too. In Kokolopori, our pilot community-based reserve, residents became very inspired by the bonobos and invested in the fight to save them from extinction.  In order to achieve their goals, residents needed an opportunity to receive a comprehensive education in conservation and related fields.  

Established by BCI and local partner Vie Sauvage, together with the people of the Djolu territory, the college trains the next generation of Congolese conservation leaders.  The only institution of higher learning within a 40,000 square mile region, Djolu Technical College offers courses in natural resource management, sustainable agriculture, and micro-enterprise development.

Beyond the specific courses, Djolu Technical College offers something even greater: a brighter future for the Congo. “Our students are thirsty not only for technical knowledge and management skills, but also for the chance to rebuild hope for the future of their villages, and protect the biodiversity of their rainforest.”  –Albert Lokasola, president of Vie Sauvage and co-founder of Djolu Technical College

Graduates of Djolu Technical College are already making a positive and meaningful impact. Beatrice Mpako, the first female graduate (in 2007), is now the Assistant  Administrator for the entire Boende district, which is comprised of Djolu and other territories. Others have gone on to work for BCI, other NGOs and enterprises—or have started their own businesses.  We are proud of our students and their accomplishments, and we are proud of the Djolu Technical College community for reaching their accreditation goal.

Accreditation is a vital milestone, however the work at Djolu has only just begun. Currently, the passion and dedication to learning at Djolu far outstrip the infrastructure of the school.  The community has donated land to expand classroom space and students are pressing bricks themselves as part of a work-study program.  Support is needed to update the library, as well as computer and internet facilities.  In addition, we are actively seeking partnership with a sister college in the USA or Europe and support to establish an endowment fund for the college. 

Please donate today to educate the conservation leaders of tomorrow.

Sending congratulations to the Djolu community, and thanks for your continued support!

Djolu students celebrating
Djolu students celebrating
Students learning to use computers
Students learning to use computers
A working group on sustainable development
A working group on sustainable development
Jun 28, 2012

Raising Awareness for Lilungu Bonobos

Lilungu bonobo
Lilungu bonobo

Since 2005, BCI and Congolese partner Centre de Recherche en Ecologie et Forestrie (CREF) have been hard at work in Lilungu. Lilungu is a key part of the Bonobo Peace Forest, linking the large nature reserves of Kokolopori to the north and Sankuru to the south. A recent grant from the Great Ape Conservation Fund enabled us to conduct surveys, train and equip trackers and monitoring teams, and improve basic infrastructure. The project achieved significant results, including:

  • Identification of high priority conservation areas
  • Confirmation that threats to bonobos in the area are consistent or increasing
  • Creation of a local association for an official nature reserve in Lilungu
  • Rejection of diamond miners by Lilungu residents in favor of conservation, a powerful testament to our work

We are also forging a new partnership with Proyecto Gran Simio of Spain (GAP/PGS-España), an organization dedicated to great ape protection. Because Lilungu was initiated as a study site by Spanish scientists (Jordi Sabater Pi and Magdalena Bermejo of the University of Barcelona), we are very happy to be establishing connections with these wonderful collaborators in Spain. In addition to providing project funding, they will be sponsoring the publication of a new children’s book Life Lessons with Kemba, written and illustrated by Celeste Maia, acclaimed artist and GAP/PGS- España Director of International Relations. This delightful tale follows the adventures of a boy and a bonobo who grow up together, and it highlights the urgent need to protect bonobos and their habitat. Proceeds from the book will go toward bonobo conservation efforts.

Raising awareness is a critical part of protecting bonobos in Lilungu and throughout their habitat. We are excited to announce that Voice of America has just produced a special video and radio program about bonobos and their plight. The story features BCI president Sally Coxe and filmmaker Irene Magafan, as well as bonobos in our Kokolopori Reserve and in captivity. Please take a look at the story below!

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!

Lilungu conservation center
Lilungu conservation center
BCI, CREF, and Lilungu trackers
BCI, CREF, and Lilungu trackers

Links:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $20
  • $25
  • $30
  • $35
  • $40
  • $50
  • $100
  • $200
  • $20
    each month
  • $25
    each month
  • $30
    each month
  • $35
    each month
  • $40
    each month
  • $50
    each month
  • $100
    each month
  • $200
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Bonobo Conservation Initiative

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Bonobo Conservation Initiative on GreatNonProfits.org.