Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest

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



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Project Leader

Sally Coxe

Washington, DC United States

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