Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest

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
Dec 22, 2010

Year-End Update and Happy Holidays!

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…

  • Trained, equipped and supported new eco-guards at three important bonobo sites: Mompono, Lingomo and Nkokolombo
  • Expanded infrastructure and bonobo monitoring at Lilungu and drafted protected area statutes for this strategic bonobo site that links the Sankuru and Kokolopori reserves
  • Supported the establishment of the Coalition for Community Conservation of Bonobos, a powerful network of local Congolese partners in the Bonobo Peace Forest
  • Began implementation of the first reforestation project in the bonobo habitat
  • And, we are leading the effort for a habitat-wide awareness and law enforcement campaign, collaborating with Congolese and international groups

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!


Sep 16, 2010

ABC Program “The Swingers” Features Kokolopori

Bonobo Peace Forest Map
Bonobo Peace Forest Map

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


Jun 14, 2010

Rescuing Bonobo Orphans & Combating the Bushmeat Trade

Bonobo orphan
Bonobo orphan

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.


Jun 14, 2010

NPR Show on Bonobos!

Panelists and Diane Rehm
Panelists and Diane Rehm

Tune into the Diane Rehm Show: “Bonobos on the Brink of Extinction”

Bonobo Conservation Initiative president Sally Jewell Coxe joins Vanessa Woods, author of the new book Bonobo Handshake, and Richard Carroll of the World Wildlife Fund for an enlightening discussion about bonobos. The show examines lessons about bonobos and efforts to save them, revealing little known facts and the urgency of protecting these endangered great apes and their habitat in the Congo rainforest.


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Project Leader

Sally Coxe

Washington, DC United States

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