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...
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
May 11, 2011

BCI Helps DRC Take Huge Step in Protecting Bonobos

BCI & provincial police bonobo orphan rescue
BCI & provincial police bonobo orphan rescue

BCI has been working closely with the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to develop an mandate for bonobo protection.  This has resulted in an an official letter that has been distributed to political and administrative authorities of all provinces requesting a formal involvement in protecting bonobos and their natural habitat.

This important decision was influenced by the fact that there is a large population of rare and endangered species found only in the DRC.  The majority of these species are unknown to many, particularly the bonobo, and are on the verge of extinction.  The DRC rainforest is the second largest on the planet and covers 232.2 million acres, which represents half of the country.  DRC is committed to converting 15% of this territory into nationally protected areas. 

The bonobo is endangered due to illegal bushmeat hunting, despite the legal texts prohibiting such activities, including law number 82-002 (May 28, 1982) on the regulation of hunting and The Washington Convention (March 3, 1973) on the international trade of endangered fauna and flora.

The proposal set forth by the Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior (025/CAB/VPM/INTERSEC/195/11) also called on police and intelligence service authorities to take all possible measures to protect the bonobo and other rare species that are found only in the DRC, which are considered part of the country’s national heritage. The DRC government depends on the efforts of the Bonobo Conservative Initiative (BCI), as we work in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Tourism and the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) to protect the bonobo and its natural rainforest habitat.

Kokolopori bonobos
Kokolopori bonobos

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