Bonobos help us save the rainforest!
We are grateful to bonobos for serving as a flagship species for the Congo rainforest. The bonobo is a charismatic icon of hope within the Democratic Republic of Congo and beyond. The peaceful, cooperative society of bonobos inspired the concept of the Bonobo Peace Forest and led directly to the creation of the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve and Sankuru Nature Reserve, as well as several other important cons
Our Fearless Field Teams!
We cannot thank our field teams enough for what they do day in and day out to make the forest safe for bonobos. They trek miles through the forest, monitoring bonobos, mapping territory, and conducting surveys. By removing snares and discouraging illegal hunting, our field teams provide the first line of defense for bonobos and other wildlife. They are true conservation heroes!
Ashley Judd—Our Bonobo Queen!
Today we express our immense gratitude to Ashley Judd for speaking out on behalf of bonobos. It is a tradition among BCI and partners to give “bonobo” names to people who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the cause. Following our expedition this summer, Ashley was ceremonially named La Reine Bonobo (Queen Bonobo) by Mpaka Bonobo (Mwanza Ndunda) and Mama Bonobo (Sally Jewell Coxe). We are so honored to have her as part of our bonobo family.
Join Ashley on Facebook Live!
Tune in tomorrow, Friday December 7, at 6pm Eastern time/ 3pm Pacific to catch Care2’s Facebook Live event featuring Ashley and BCI President Sally Jewell Coxe.
Check out Ashley’s Care2 petition. Vive La Reine Bonobo!
Our Congolese Leaders!
We’d like to give a big shout-out to our Congolese partners and all that they do to help the Peace Forest thrive. A special thank you goes to Dr. Mwanza Ndunda, general director of the Matadi Center for Interdisciplinary Research. A biologist who has worked extensively both with bonobos and lowland gorillas, Mwanza was one of the original architects of the Bonobo Peace Forest. Mwanza has trained many Congolese scientists and he recently led an education program in the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve and Djolu, with support from the Disney Conservation Fund. Known as Mpaka Bonobo (the wise old bonobo), Mwanza is the one who crowned Ashley Judd La Reine Bonobo (Queen Bonobo) this summer. Merci beaucoup to Mwanza and to all our amazing Congolese partners!
Bonobos show us the path of peace.
Bonobos inspire us with their peaceful approach to life. Cooperation, not competition, is the rule for bonobos, and conflict is resolved with affection rather than aggression. By following the bonobos’ example of peaceful collaboration, we humans can work toward a healthier, happier, more sustainable future.
The researchers in the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve do amazing and important work shedding light on the mysterious world of the bonobo. Led by Dr. Martin Surbeck of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, these devoted scientists observe the bonobos from the moment they begin stirring in the morning until they make their nests to sleep at night. The researchers work closely with local field teams and scientists, helping Congolese conservationists gain skills and expertise. We’d like to say a special thank you to research camp manager Anaïs van Cauwenberghe, who does an incredible job orchestrating daily research activities. The more we know about bonobos, the better we can protect them!
Our Bonobo Peace Forest Partners!
The Bonobo Peace Forest is envisioned as a linked network of community-managed reserves. As the Peace Forest continues to move from vision to reality, its success rests on the efforts of incredible local leaders and organizations. Vie Sauvage has been the local managing partner in Kokolopori since 2001. Thanks in large part to the the excellent work of Vie Sauvage, the success of Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve has inspired other leaders in nearby communities to initiate their own reserves. Albert Alukana, a former nurse in the Kokolopori health clinic, has made great progress in an area called Foret Riche. Meanwhile, in Lilungu, reserve coordinator Pierre Bokonji was instrumental in gaining official authorization from the provincial government to create a 1.3 million acre community forest reserve. In LiLiKo, Jean Gaston Ndombasi, Cosmas Bofangi, and Roger Afelende—affectionately known as the Three Musketeers—continue to lead the charge to protect their adjoining forests which span 700,000 acres.
This self-replication of the Peace Forest is a testament to the power of the vision and the benefits of its implementation. To learn more about viral conservation in the Peace Forest, check out Deni Béchard’s award-winning book Of Bonobos and Men.
Orphan Bonobo Rescues
Sometimes saving a species happens one bonobo at a time. Orphan rescues can be difficult and dangerous, and we cannot express how much we appreciate those who put their lives on the line to do this important work. Here you can see Héritier Mpo with Lutula, rescued near Lodja in April of this year. Every day, our field teams work to remove snares and thwart poachers who would leave bonobo infants motherless. We are growing the Bonobo Peace Forest so that, one day, all bonobos can grow up happy and healthy in their natural habitat. Until then, we give thanks to the rescuers and to YOU for supporting them.
A Special Video Message from Ashley Judd
A message of gratitude from actor, activist, and bonobo supporter Ashley JuddA special message from Ashley Judd
In case you missed our Facebook Live! event with Ashley Judd, Sally Jewell Coxe, and Care2 you can watch it here. And, if you haven’t done so already, there is still time to have your voice heard by signing our Care2 petition and share it with your friends!
Our Amazing Supporters (a.k.a. YOU!!!)
You make the Peace Forest possible. Your contribution provides training and equipment for field teams, supplies for schools, economic opportunities for Peace Forest residents, and protection for bonobos and their rainforest home. Whether you are a long-time contributor or a new supporter, we are so grateful to have you as part of our team. Thank you for standing with us!
Volunteers help us get the job done! From stuffing envelopes to running conference booths to hosting bike races (thanks, Brooklyn Bonobos!), volunteers contribute so much. One volunteer superstar is Hanna Chang. Hanna has been our go-to graphic designer for years, and the quality of her work is only surpassed by the quality of her commitment.We also have outstanding volunteer project leaders. The women’s group of Djolu looks forward to welcoming Monica Norley (winner of the Winrock International Volunteer Award) next year to implement the next phase of their soap making endeavor. Whether working in the field or at their computers, volunteers are absolutely crucial to the success of our work. Let’s hear it for volunteers!
The Abundant Congo Rainforest
The Congo rainforest is vital to the health of our planet. It provides a home for countless species of plants and animals (including bonobos!), sequesters huge amounts of carbon, and helps regulate global water and climate patterns. We are grateful for all that the rainforest does for us, and for all that you are doing to help us protect the rainforest!
Bonobos are gardeners of the rainforest
Bonobos don’t only live in the rainforest, they actually help it grow! Studies have found that many plant species rely on bonobos for the dispersal and germination of seeds, so much so that bonobos are referred to as “gardeners of the forest.” The Congo rainforest needs bonobos, and we need the Congo rainforest. Protection for one is protection for all. Thank you, bonobos!
The health and wellbeing of local people is a crucial factor in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the Congo rainforest. When cassava, a staple crop, became infected with a devastating disease in the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve, BCI worked with agronomist Marcel Falay to provide disease-resistant cassava cuttings to the affected villages. He trained people all across the territory in the planting and care of the cassava, resulting in higher crop yields, reduced impact on the forest, and better nourished communities. We are grateful to Marcel for helping to promote sustainable agriculture throughout the Peace Forest!
Our Incredible DRC Staff!
A heartfelt thank you to the BCI team in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They put their hearts and souls into organizing and implementing our work on the ground. We want to give particular recognition to our Chief Operating Officer Bienvenu Mupenda. Bienvenu has been with BCI for more than 15 years, and he is the man who makes it all happen. From high-level planning to handling logistics, Bienvenu is there. Merci beaucoup, Bienvenu. Here’s to many more years to come!
Recurring donors keep our programs going strong all year long! Knowing we can count on your support each month helps us fund our field teams and enables us to plan more long-term, effective conservation strategies. It’s easy to sign up as a recurring donor at bonobo.org. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you are making a lasting contribution to the survival of our sister species. And, depending on the monthly amount you choose, you’ll receive a special gift like tote bags or exclusive bonobo artwork! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Each and every bonobo
With as few as 15,000 left in the wild, each and every bonobo matters. We are thankful for all bonobos, and we are very thankful for the opportunity to observe the bonobos living in the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve. This is Freddy and his mother Fitz of the Kokoalongo bonobo group. Freddy became a big brother this May when Fitz gave birth to another son Falco. Falco is one of six bonobos born to the groups being studied by the Max Planck Institute at Kokolopori this year! Since bonobos only reproduce every four or five years, each and every birth is cause for celebration.
Werrason, Our Bonobo Peace Forest Ambassador!
Raising awareness is a critical part of our mission to protect bonobos. We are deeply honored that Congolese music star Werrason has agreed to become an Ambassador for our “Bonobo SOS” campaign—designed to stop illegal hunting. Werrason has won numerous awards during a career that has spanned more than three decades. He is popular with young and old alike, earning him the nickname “Le Roi de la Forȇt,” or The King of the Forest. Many thanks to Werrason for being a voice of positive change in the Democratic Republic of Congo!
Bonobos demonstrate the power of cooperation, and we believe in following their example! Today we recognize a few of the partner organizations who help us raise the profile of bonobos. We are profoundly grateful to the Wildlife Conservation Network, EarthX, IUCN, Bioneers, and AREDAY for all the work they do to bring conservationists together. It’s only by working collaboratively that we can answer the conservation challenges of today and find solutions that promise a brighter tomorrow.
It’s so inspiring to us to connect with those who share our passion for conservation and sustainability. Please keep an eye on your email to see when BCI is headed your way. We would love to meet you!
Bonobo Peace Forest Communities!
Our final gratitude goes to all the people who live within the Bonobo Peace Forest. Not only do we work with extraordinary local leaders, scientists, and field teams, but also thousands of people who have embraced conservation as a way of life. They are the elders who share their knowledge, men and women who pursue sustainable agriculture and development, and students who are the conservationists of the future. We’d like to close with the words of longtime BCI partner Albert Lokasola, who leads our work in Kokolopori and now serves in the Congolese parliament:
So what is the most powerful means of protecting the forest? It’s to protect the bonobo and the forest – because the bonobo and the forest live together. But there are also people who share the same habitat with the bonobo. And they share the same resources with the bonobo….And that is our vision, which is holistic and triangular – protect the people, protect the bonobo, protect the forest – because they all live together.
And we thank YOU for supporting Peace Forest residents and their groundbreaking conservation paradigm. You make all of our work possible. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.