Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve

The Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve is the pilot and model for the Bonobo Peace Forest. Harboring one of the largest known bonobo populations, Kokolopori is an exceptionally important site for conservation and research. It is one of the few sites where bonobos are habituated to the presence of humans. Four bonobo groups can be viewed on a daily basis—a boon for both research and ecotourism.

The indigenous Mongandu people at Kokolopori respect ancestral traditions to protect bonobos. The Mongandu are working with BCI and managing partner Vie Sauvage to protect their forest while at the same time improving their quality of life. Together, we have initiated a number of promising livelihood programs, including sustainable agriculture, micro-credit and conservation enterprise programs, aid for the local schools, and a health clinic. Kokolopori has inspired nearby communities, on their own initiative, to create their own reserves based on the same model—Likongo, Lingomo and Nkokolombo.

Bonobo looking up to the light

Creating the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve

Officially established in 2009, the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve is the result of the collaborative efforts of BCI, Vie Sauvage, Kokolopori residents, the DRC government, and various supportive organizations. Information exchange between all of these partners has been crucial in developing a reserve that serves the needs of the bonobos, the forest, and the local communities. The development of the reserve has been driven by local interests and efforts, under the able leadership of Albert Lotana Lokasola, founder of Vie Sauvage. Today, the reserve encompasses over 4,850 square kilometers (1,870 square miles) of rainforest.

Over the past decade, the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve has continued to develop coordinated conservation and community development initiatives to benefit all the inhabitants of the forest, people and wildlife alike. In addition to bonobos, the Kokolopori forest harbors many other species, including a wide variety of primates. The first ever study of the rare Salongo monkey (Cercopithecus dryas) has been initiated at Kokolopori where it is protected by the local population.

Women of Kokolopori

Keep the heart of the Peace Forest beating strong! Support the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve today and make a difference for generations to come.