Apply to Join

Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest

by Bonobo Conservation Initiative
Play Video
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest
Save Endangered Bonobos in the Congo Rainforest

We hope this update finds you well amidst this continuing pandemic. It is inspiring to see so many people pitching in and doing their part to keep their communities safe. Like everyone else, our team and partners in the Congo have also had to adapt to new circumstances to ensure their safety—international borders have been closed, regional quarantines are in place, and internal travel is limited.

We are helping our field teams to protect bonobos and themselves against the new threat of COVID-19. Because of our genetic similarity, it is likely that bonobos and other great apes can contract the virus, and bonobos are particularly susceptible to human respiratory illnesses. That is why our trackers were wearing masks well before the pandemic originated. Education about hygiene, physical distancing, along with taking special precautions in accordance with guidelines set forth by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Primate Specialist Group are crucial in ensuring the health of both people and bonobos. We have been working to get this information to our partners on the ground, and are raising funds to purchase key items like soap, medical supplies, and facemasks.

Bushmeat hunting, however, remains the greatest threat to bonobos. Our work with local indigenous communities in the Bonobo Peace Forest is providing livelihood alternatives to hunting. Continued support of our tracking teams, as well as other community programs like agriculture and soap-making, are more vital than ever in protecting our sister species.

As always, thank you for standing with us…and please help BCI and our partners by sharing the news about our mission!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Rubin, one of the newest Ekalakala bonobos
Rubin, one of the newest Ekalakala bonobos

Dear Friend,

As the yearand decadedraw to a close, we would like to thank you everyone who has stepped up to support our work to protect bonobos and their precious habitat in the Congo rainforest. The Bonobo Peace Forest concept is put into action by the combined efforts of many people, especially those who are on the ground in the DRC. Here are some of the highlights from this year:

  • The DRC government officially endorsed the Bonobo Peace Forest with an announcement at the United Nations.
  • Research in the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve continues under the auspices of Harvard University.
  • Three baby bonobos were born within the bonobo study groups! The Nkokoalongo group welcomed Enigma and Odios, as the Ekalakala group welcomed Rubin.
  • Two postdoctoral researchers have been analyzing bonobo group encounters and will soon publish their findings. This type of behavioral information is crucial for determining best conservation practices.
  • Our conservation and research programs employed many local trackers, providing income and ongoing training for indigenous communities.
  • Together with private sector partners, we are stepping up efforts to establish ecotourism in the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve.
  • BCI Australia provided support for the Lilungu community forest, a stronghold for bonobos which is now in process for official protection.
  • EarthX—the world’s largest Earth Day expo—announced that it will offset its 2020 carbon footprint by investing in the Bonobo Peace Forest!
  • BCI and partners helped rescue two baby bonobos from poachers. The pet trade is an ongoing threat to bonobos, especially since mothers are often killed in order to kidnap the infants.

Foresight is 2020

The statistics are sobering. Fewer than 15,000 bonobos remain in the wild. The Congo rainforest may be completely gone by the year 2100. Left unchanged, this path leads directly to species collapse and cataclysmic climate change.

They say that hindsight is 20/20, and this year we’d like to turn that saying around. By planning ahead and scaling up our proven, integrated model for conservation and community development, we can change the outcome for bonobos and for ourselves. Let’s dedicate 2020 to envisioning and enacting a path toward a brighter future for bonobos, for their Congo rainforest home, and for all life on Earth.

As always, thank you for standing with us…and please help BCI and our partners by spreading the word about our mission!

Rose gave birth to Rubin in June
Rose gave birth to Rubin in June
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report on Climate Change and Land. The report investigated–among other things–land use and sustainable land management in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The review included authors from 52 countries and analyzed over 7,000 publications that included interviews and surveys with indigenous and local communities. Key findings of the report recognized that involvement of indigenous and local communities in land management is essential in effectively adapting to and mitigating climate change—and that improved land management is critical for  biodiversity conservation. 

In response to this report, a consortium of indigenous and community leaders from 42 countries spanning 76% of the world’s tropical forests, released a statement acknowledging the importance of the report. It also included a series of recommendations to enable indignous and local communities to further protect and effectively manage their lands.  

“Where our rights are respected, by contrast, we provide an alternative to economic models that require tradeoffs between the environment and development. Our traditional knowledge and holistic view of nature enables us to feed the world, protect our forests, and maintain global biodiversity.” —Indigenous and Community Response

The headline of their response reads: “Finally, the world’s top scientists recognize what we have always known.” We at BCI expressed the same sentiment! We have been working with local and indigenous communities in the bonobo habitat for over two decades, and the Bonobo Peace Forest is the manifestation of this approach. 

Our local partners can attest that community involvement is the core element of successful conservation. When interviewed by our team last summer, local partner Jean Gaston said: “It is a good vision because in sustainable conservation, it requires the involvement of the community.” Lingomo, another Peace Forest leader, said “We found sustainable conservation with BCI. Because BCI negotiates with the local population, works well with the population, and lives together with the population.”

We are so proud of our on the ground partners who work so hard to protect their forests, which not only protects the biodiversity within, but also keeps countless tons of greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere.  We are also grateful that our grassroots approach is beginning to be recognized as a viable and important conservation strategy. Most of all, we are grateful for our supporters, who enable us to continue this important work! 

As always, thank you for standing with us…and please help BCI and our partners by spreading the word about our mission!

Lingomo with BCI president Sally Coxe
Lingomo with BCI president Sally Coxe

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Freddy (left) and his mother Fitz
Freddy (left) and his mother Fitz

It seems that humans aren't the only species with helicopter parents. A recent study co-authored by BCI’s research director Dr. Martin Surbeck found that mother bonobos take active roles in helping their sons to achieve success...mating success, that is!

At his previous study site at LuiKotale, Surbeck and his fellow researchers noted that female bonobos occasionally interfered with mating couples. It wasn’t until they were able to analyze DNA from fecal samples and determine how the individual bonobos were related, that they were able to explain the behavior. It turns out that mother bonobos were helping their sons to get the best mating opportunities.  Males who stayed close to their mothers in their groups were three times more likely to produce offspring. 

At our Kokolopori site, Dr. Surbeck’s team of researchers is continuing this approach of observing bonobo behavior in conjunction with DNA collection and analysis to learn more about our primate “cousins.” This information can ultimately help us to improve conservation strategies. Of course, this work continues to be possible because of the foundation of community support and local knowledge at Kokolopori--and the generosity of our donors. 

As always, thank you for standing with us!

P.S. GlobalGiving has another Bonus Day coming up next week! On Thursday, July 18, starting at 9:00 a.m. ET, GlobalGiving will have $250K in matching funds for donations of $100 and above! It’s a great opportunity to maximize the impact of your gift!

Fitz has at least three sons to manage!
Fitz has at least three sons to manage!

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Recently rescued baby bonobo Esake
Recently rescued baby bonobo Esake

Early last week, our dedicated community partner in the Sankuru province, Héritier Mpo, was informed of an orphan bonobo seized from a bushmeat trafficker in the village of Hiekele. Héritier was dispatched to retrieve the bonobo from the police in this remote village—the same place where he had rescued another bonobo one year ago. The orphan—a female—has been named Esake after the village where she was rescued.

Esake has had a harrowing couple of weeks. We learned that hunters had shot her mother with a poisoned arrow. The hunters tracked the two bonobos for a day and a half before the mother succumbed to a slow and painful death. After being kept by the hunters for five days, Esake was sold to a bushmeat trafficker from the village of Lodja. The trafficker and his bicycle-load of bushmeat were apprehended by police. Héritier was able to negotiate Esake’s release from the police. In the course of transporting the baby bonobo, Héritier had a motorbike accident and suffered an injury to his leg. Fortunately, Esake was unharmed.

Although traumatized and weak, Esake began to regain some strength under Héritier’s care. She readily took to drinking from a bottle and eating fruit. Meanwhile, we coordinated with our friends at Lola Ya Bonobo to make arrangements to transport her to the sanctuary in Kinshasa. We are pleased to report that she arrived in Kinshasa on Tuesday and is now getting adjusted to her new home!

We are fortunate to have successfully saved another bonobo life, even as one was tragically lost. This reminds us of the continuing need for community awareness about conservation, support for our on-the-ground teams, and for economic alternatives to bushmeat hunting. Bonobo rescues are not only dangerous (as it was for Héritier this time), but they are also costly—transportation is difficult and expensive in the DRC. Your generous support helps to sustain our programs and to offset these unplanned expenses.

As always, thank you for standing with us!

P.S. Want to make your donation count even more? Starting this Monday (April 15th) at 9AM Eastern, through Earth Day (April 22), GlobalGiving is launching its Climate Fund Campaign. Donations to our project could help us earn matching funds and bonus prizes!

BCI partner Heritier Mpo with Esake
BCI partner Heritier Mpo with Esake

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

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.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Bonobo Conservation Initiative

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @bonobodotorg
Project Leader:
Sally Coxe
Washington, DC United States
$80,618 raised of $100,000 goal
 
1,633 donations
$19,382 to go
Donate Now Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.