Bolomba is regaining the use of her right arm.
Today she is able to lift her arm above her head! What a long way she has come since arriving in October! Bolomba had been caught in a snare in September in the depths of the equatorial rainforest. A rescue mission was launched to bring her back from a small village near Bolomba. We believe her to be approximately ten years old.
If she continues on this path it won’t be long before she is introduced into one of the enclosures with the “Big” bonobos!
On the first of March we received an anonymous phone call informing us that there was a baby bonobo in a bar not far from the international airport of Kinshasa. Without wasting time, Pierrot, Suzy and Blaise headed out to verify the information. Indeed, at the bar they found a little female, she had a cold and was feverish. We had to act fast! She was exposed to all the customers and with a little questioning we found out that the bar owner had the ambition of collecting a number of wild animals in order to attract more customers!!!
The very next day, at our request, the Secretary General for the Environment organised the official confiscation carried out by two inspectors who were sent to the bar. They were accompanied by our nurse, Anne-Marie, ready to begin the health care straight away. “Ndjili”, named after the airport, arrived at Lola at 4.30pm that day.
With all these arrivals so close together, our substitution mothers are all taken! We turned to Saharive, our washerwoman, who has already been adopted by the little ones in the nursery. She has taken on the care of Ndjili, at least for the quarantine period.
Luckily, Ndjili has had a few visits from Rocky and Mystique to distract her during her quarantine.
Ndjili with her Mama and Mistique!
Ndjili and Rocky
Lukuru, in the nursery since arriving in 2008 is now one of the biggest in the gang… but she is far from being the most turbulent and has stayed so gentle! For a long time now she has been the one that we first introduce the new orphans to. She is self-confident yet gentle and knows just how to reassure them during their integration into the nursery.
Lukuru and Kipolo… a true friendship!
When Kipolo arrived in June 2010 it was Lukuru who first welcomed him. From then on they were inseparable… As only a true friend would, she stayed by his side and helped him best she could when he became blind. The Mamas tell of how Lukuru would take Kipolo by the arm or by the hand to lead him over to the Mamas for the food distribution. She has always been there for him… Then Kipolo had his surgery and his sight was restored… finally free, he soon became the terror of the nursery, being rough with all the others… even Lukuru!!! She stayed faithful though and remained by his side accepting his turbulence and “violence”!
Kipolo and Lukuru 2010
Kipolo has since left the nursery to join the big guys in enclosure 3… and who better to accompany him to his destination to reassure him? None other than Lukuru of course!
Lukuru, finding herself without her Kipolo has become good friends with Bolomba one of latest arrivals. Lukuru is the ideal friend for this young female who, despite arriving at the advanced age of eight, often needs to be rassured! Lukuru’s speciality!
I believe we can thank her for the precious help that she has supplied with all of the new orphans… joining the nursery is so much easier with Lukuru by your side!
On the 5th of February a little three year-old female arrived at Lola ya Bonobo escorted by a delegation from BCI/APE ALLIANCE who had seized her in Boma, a town in the province of “Bas-Congo”. Also present was the family who has taken her in illegally no-less! Far too much honour for our liking, given that the Congolese law regarding the possession of endangered species (such as the bonobo) had been broken!
How did she get so far outside of the bonobos natural habitat? As is often the case with the bonobos that we confiscate, a large part of her story remains a mystery, lost in the tales told by their “owners”.
Boma arrived at Lola with a cough and a swollen abdomen caused by her inappropriate diet. She was handed over to Mama Espérance who will be with her for the next few years in the nursery. During her quarantine period we were pleased to see that her swollen belly was decreasing each day, great news for this little female who is just crazy about the wild “beya” shoots that grow in the bonobos’ natural habitat.
Boma on arrival
Boma a little later…
At the end of her quarantine, Boma joined the little nursery! The first contact with her new friends went very well, even if she kept a tight grip on her substitution Mama… and as per usual among bonobos, the welcome ceremony for this little newcomer involved a whole lot of “cuddling”!
Welcome to Lola ya Bonobo Boma!!!
Following Kipolo’s departure for enclosure 3, the Mamas were not the only ones to feel a little relief!
Bolomba (9 year-old female with a severe handicap to her arm on arriving at the sanctuary having been caught in a snare) can rest easy without the fear of being pushed around by the ever-turbulent Kipolo! As a result she has been progressing more every day: she started by regaining the use of her shoulder, then her elbow, then she began supporting herself on her knuckles and even began hanging from and carrying fruit and the basketball with both arms!! What wonderful progress! Now, with her friend Lukuru close-by she is gaining in self assurance as the weeks go by!
While the post-operative period following Kipolo’s operation for his double cataracts presented no problems, a sudden infection of his laryngeal sac delayed his programmed transfer into one of the adult enclosures after his quarantine.
It must said that regaining his sight after more than two years of being blind, our “big boy” in the nursery had become very turbulent! To such a point that the Mamas started to look forward to the day that his convalescence would be over and had already requested for his transfer!
He was sure to be taught a lesson or two by the alliance of females in enclosure 3, Tschilomba, Isiro and Likasi! Not to mention the males, Makali in the lead!
At Lola we hadn’t needed to carry out an operation on the laryngeal sac for a number of years. Pierrot contacted Crispin, coordinator at Lola until 2009, who was more than happy to return to Lola to demonstrate the method for the new healthcare team. And so together they carried out the operation on Kipolo. After a successful surgery, he then began his second round of convalescence… to the disappointment of the Mamas he was as energetic as ever following the surgery.
Post-op : success
And so one month later we were finally able to proceed to his successful transfer into enclosure 3! What a relief for the Mamas. Of course they still ask how he is getting on! Our turbulent but much loved Kipolo!
Transfer to enclosure 3, via enclosure 1
In enclosure 3, with its new keeper, Maman Henriette, and under Maman Micheline’s watchful eye, Kipolo is now successfully integrated into his new group… and pleased to have been reunited with his old friends Shibombo and Kodoro!
We hope you had a good weekend like Kikwit here!
Claudine André, President of Les Amis des Bonobos du Congo (ABC) and Founding Director of Lola ya Bonobo, the world’s only sanctuary for the endangered bonobo, will be honored with a $50,000 prize from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium at their first-ever Commitment to Conservation Award ceremony in Columbus Ohio, on April 6th 2012. The ceremony in April will launch the biennial event. Recipients of the award are long-term partners of the Zoo who receive support for their work through the Zoo’s Conservation Fund. The award is made possible through proceeds from the Zoo’s annual Wine for Wildlife event.
Columbus Zoo has been an important longstanding advocate and supporter of Claudine’s work helping to ensure the successful rehabilitation of an ever-growing number of orphan bonobos confiscated from the illegal bushmeat and pet trades.
It was in 1993, when an orphaned bonobo arrived at the Kinshasa Zoo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that Claudine’s fate was sealed. At the time she was volunteering at the zoo and was told that all other bonobos who arrived at the zoo had invariably died. Not this time. Much to everyone’s surprise, Claudine saved the little ape, and local people then began bringing injured and orphaned bonobos to her. When news reached officials from DRC’s Ministry of the Environment, they began confiscating captive bonobos, whose capture and sale are illegal in Congo, and took them to Claudine for expert care. To address the growing demand, Claudine started the non-profit organization Les Amis des Bonobos du Congo in 2002 and established the first sanctuary for bonobos on 70 acres of enclosed forest outside of Kinshasa.
Originally established to help provide refuge for rescued bonobos, ABC’s programs have since expanded in scope and scale over the years. Today ABC has an integrated bonobo conservation program that includes the rescue and rehabilitation of orphan bonobos at the sanctuary, environmental education activities in and around Kinshasa and within targeted bonobo habitat areas, which have reached more than 200,000 people in the past 5 years, as well as the world’s first ever release of bonobos back into the wild, a program that was launched in 2009.
Please join us in congratulating Claudine on her award and for her incredible contributions to bonobo conservation! Her dedication to the protection of bonobos and their habitat is an inspiration to us all!
For further information on the award please visit http://www.columbuszoo.org/news_room/press_releases/columbus_zoo_awards_inagural_commitment_to_conservation_award.aspx
For a while now our nursery has been divided in two: The little ones, and the “big” little ones! Kole, still among the youngest in the nursery sent a message loud and clear.
Every day for a whole week, he escaped from the little nursery and headed straight for the big nursery. Well straight…Obviously it is more fun to stop by the house where the visitors are having lunch to cause a bit of havoc! The Mamas were going crazy. As soon as they arrived he would run for the closest tree and spend as much time as he liked up there… and what a treat to climb up a fruiting mango tree!!! Pure bliss for a little bonobo!!!
By the end of the week the decision was made… Kole moved into the “big” nursery… accompanied by Sandoa!