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.
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.
Every day, the Bonobo Conservation Initiative supports over 200 Congolese conservationists and eco-guards working on the front lines to protect bonobos. And that number is growing, as our work expands to new areas and we put the systems in place to ensure protection over the long term.
Together, we are not only protecting thousands of bonobos, we are also preventing an astounding two billion tons of greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere.
Over the past year alone, we have made exciting progress on the ground in the Congo…
Those are just some of the highlights. We’ve forged new partnerships, conducted more bonobo surveys, and built the capacity of our local managing partners.
We have a lot to be grateful for as we celebrate another year of success and progress toward fulfilling our mission to protect bonobos and their rainforest home. It's the caring and contributions of people like you that make it all possible.
With heartfelt thanks, we wish you the happiest of holidays and a New Year filled with joy!
ABC News Reporter Eric Campbell ventures to the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve to visit the bonobos and local community. Campbell conducts exclusive interviews with Sally Coxe, BCI President, and Albert Lokasola, President of BCI's local partner NGO Vie Sauvage, at the field site.
Kokolopori is one of the few sites where wild bonobos are habituated to human presence and can be viewed on a daily basis. Home to more than 1,000 bonobos, it is the anchor site for BCI's Bonobo Peace Forest, a proposed constellation of locally managed nature reserves supported by sustainable community development.
Watch "The Swingers" now at http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2010/s3011728.htm.
BCI and local partners have been the only or the most visible bonobo conservation entities in-situ across a large section of the bonobo habitat. We have therefore been on the front lines of the bushmeat trade, which has led to saving more than a dozen orphaned bonobos—and in the process, educating and forging partnerships with local and regional authorities, who were previously unaware of national and international laws against hunting bonobos.
Our most recent rescue was a bonobo from Monieka. A poacher caught her and wanted to sell her as a pet. Luckily, our staff on the ground brought her to safety and we sent her to a sanctuary in Kinshasa.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.