BCI is honored to be profiled by author Deni Béchard in his award-winning book Of Bonobos and Men: A Journey to the Heart of the Congo (also available in French under the title Des bonobos et des Hommes and published in hardcover as Empty Hands, Open Arms: The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make Conservation Go Viral). This poignant, illuminating work chronicles Béchard’s travels through the Congo with the Bonobo Conservation Initiative.
Weaving together environmental, political, historical, and anthropological narratives, Béchard describes how, despite overwhelming obstacles, BCI’s inclusive and participatory approach to conservation has achieved remarkable success. Béchard offers a detailed account of the founding of the Bonobo Peace Forest and explores why it is “going viral,” or self-replicating, as more communities voluntarily join these life-changing conservation efforts.
Winner of the 2015 Nautilus Book Award for investigative journalism and the overall Grand Prize.
Praise for Of Bonobos and Men:
Béchard’s riveting journey through the ‘dark continent’ provides a surprisingly uplifting story about a radically different and successful conservation program.
Here is the matter of conservation given profound explanation—a searching and knowing consideration that enables an important social and political and cultural struggle in Africa to become a needed lesson for us who live elsewhere to ponder, take to heart.
Reading [Of Bonobos and Men] brought me nearly to tears of despair for the desperate, desperate situation of bonobos, the world’s most endearing and endangered great apes—and then again to tears of joyful admiration for the brave and smart people working to save them in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Buy this book, and you will discover a seed of hope in our time’s garden of despair.
To learn more about Béchard and his book, please watch the video below and read the exclusive interview.