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...
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:

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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