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...
Mar 26, 2012

Exciting Progress in Likongo, Mbandaka, and Sankuru

Trackers at work
Trackers at work

BCI President Sally Coxe and Executive Director Michael Hurley are currently spending several weeks in the field in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  As they travel from site to site, they are inspired daily by the dedication of the trackers and eco-guards who protect the bonobos, as well as the commitment of contributors who make it all possible. Here are some highlights of their itinerary:

Likongo--Sally and Michael recently visited Likongo, a site created by local Congolese residents who were inspired by our Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve.  Jean Gaston Ndombasi, leader of local NGO Debut Likongo, has been instrumental in organizing eco-guard and tracker efforts in Likongo.  Thanks to his leadership, eighteen Likongo residents are monitoring three bonobo groups. We are very grateful to them, not only because of their excellent work, but also because they have been working for the past two years on a completely volunteer basis.

Mbandaka –BCI is delighted to announce the expansion of conservation efforts in the Bonobo Peace Forest. Sally and Michael will co-lead a meeting with provincial authorities to kick off the new Bonobo Conservation Concession project in cooperation with Conservation International. The project is funded by the Congo Basin Forest Fund / African Development Bank and is the first pilot conservation concession in the DRC, converting unexploited logging concessions to conservation.

Sankuru--At the end of March, BCI will host a historic meeting of more than 100 customary chiefs and notables representing communities involved with our project. BCI is deeply committed to fostering communication and community involvement in conservation, and we believe that this meeting will be a great step forward in our mission to save endangered bonobos.

Bonobos still stand at the brink of extinction, but—by working together—we are making real progress in the fight for their survival. We need your continued support to train and equip the people who are the bonobos’ first line of defense-- the brave and dedicated eco-guards in Likongo, Sankuru, the conservation concessions, and throughout the bonobo range.

Please check our next report for amazing photos from Sally and Michael’s travels!

The beautiful forests of Mbandaka
The beautiful forests of Mbandaka
Bonobos at play in Sankuru
Bonobos at play in Sankuru
Dec 27, 2011

Bonobo Peace Forest Continues to Grow

HELP THE BONOBO PEACE FOREST GROW!

At this season of the year, we are filled with gratitude for the caring and generosity of people like you.  Your donations on Global Giving’s Bonus Day (a record-breaking event for us!) and throughout 2011 have enabled BCI to build upon our extraordinary achievements in the Congo rainforest.  Thanks to you, our vision for the Bonobo Peace Forest—an integrated chain of community-managed reserves is becoming a reality...

  • Two nature reserves spanning 12,000 square miles—the size of Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined
  • Accords in place and projects initiated in ten key sites where bonobos are protected by local people
  • More than 250 conservationists and eco-guards working daily
  • Community development programs, including a health clinic, sustainable agriculture programs, scholarships, and microcredit for women
  • Initiated the first reforestation project in the bonobo range
  • Established the first college for sustainable rural development in the bonobo habitat

You are a vital partner as we continue our mission in 2012 to protect bonobos, preserve the rainforest, and empower the Congolese people to lead conservation efforts.  We’ve made tremendous strides and we need your help now to keep our work going strong!

The progress is encouraging, but the situation for many bonobos remains dire. This year, we performed surveys in two regions, which have shown that in the areas where eco-guards and monitoring teams are active and communities are committed to conservation, the bonobos are thriving. But in areas where such protections do not exist, bonobos are struggling for survival—or have disappeared entirely. We need more eco-guards, more boots on the ground.

See what your donation helps us do!  

Click below to view our full-size 2011 interactive progress map. You can scroll over the project sites to see pictures and a short description of our efforts. A PDF version of the map is also available below.

Thank you sincerely for your support. Your donation makes all the difference!

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Sep 24, 2011

Max Planck Institute Scientists Train BCI Trackers for Kokolopori Survey

Genevieve Campbell and BCI trackers
Genevieve Campbell and BCI trackers

Recently, scientists from the Max Planck Institute conducted an intensive 10-day training program in survey methodology at the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve. More than thirty people—including local eco-guards, recent graduates from the University of Kisangani and our own Djolu Technical College, and representatives from neighboring Bonobo Peace Forest sites—came from miles around to learn advanced survey and reporting skills.

This training is already being put to excellent use. Working with our local partner Vie Sauvage, we are performing a full survey of the 4875 km2 Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve (now in progress). As we track bonobo ranges and map important sites, we are learning more about bonobo behavior and how we can best protect them—and all of the biodiversity in the forest.  

In addition to our growing information about bonobos, we are learning about the other animals that share their Congo Basin rainforest home. These amazing creatures include Congo peacock, bongos, and the rare salongo monkey (Cercopithecus dryas). Our work marks the first time that the salongo monkey has ever been studied!

None of this progress would be possible without the expertise of the Max Planck Institute, the dedication of our trackers in the field, and the generous contributions of supporters like you. Your funds help us equip our trackers and eco-guards with GPS systems, binoculars, stopwatches, and all the necessary equipment to survey and protect this vital part of our world.

Reviewing maps and planning survey design
Reviewing maps and planning survey design
A Kokolopori bonobo
A Kokolopori bonobo
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