Category Archives: Katako

Happy new year from Kata

I’ve just got an email from Amandine, a French researcher at Lola with news and wonderful photos.
You won’t even believe how big Kata is now -she is positively enormous! All that milk she refused to drink 6 months ago didn’t do her any harm and it looks like she’s caught up with the rest of them. Look how tiny she is here with Anne Marie

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Then see how she is with Yvonne now!! Unlike her previous fussiness she eats absolutely anything! As you can see from the sheer size of her. Go little Kata – go!

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Isn’t she georgeous? By all accounts she’s a sweet bonobo, just like when she was a baby, however, Pierrot reports that she can be a little cool, and occasionally very quick tempered! But generally she loves to be with the others, but if when she wants something, she’ll get it at any price! Tenacious little thing, sounds just like a young Hilary Clinton.

As a matter of fact, her mama Yvonne says Kata has developed quite a dominating personality which makes it a little hard for her to find friends. But she’s trying to change! Maybe a new Madam President in the making?

Stay tuned for more pics, especially of Lolo – great work Amandine!

Surprise!

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Kata drank today!! it was amazing. she’s drunk nothing for weeks. We had to dip sugar cane in milk and feed her drop by drop. A couple more days and she would be dead. Then she woke up this morning and drank a whole bottle full of milk!! It was like she suddenly decided she would live and now here she is, eating, drinking and putting weight back on her skinny little bones. I was so happy I almost started crying.

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Now Lomela has her amoeba and is sick, but Mama Henriette says Lomela can afford to lose a little weight because she eats and drinks all day long.

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Kata very sick

Kataco isn’t doing so well. She has amoebas. She doesn’t drink and she’s so dehydrated that her skin is hanging off her body.

It was so bad Crispin the vet had to give her an IV drip. The needle was gigantic. I nearly passed out just looking at it. It must have hurt so much but she barely whimpered.

Anne marie had to force feed her medicine for her amoebas.

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I hope she doesn’t die. But she will if she doesn’t drink soon.

Claudine says Kataco is sad, very sad.

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Sometimes, she says, bonobos die because they just don’t want to live any more. I cried in the toilet and spent an hour watching group one play in the fading sunlight

Good news

The test results have come back from the lab and it turns out both Lomela and Kata are fine. Kata has a minor protein deficiency, but this should improve as she drinks more milk and eats more food like eggs.

I tried to get a photo of Lomela and Kata in their sleeping closure like some of you asked me too, but what with the flash and the grill I just couldn’t do it. But I took this one for you instead.

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They are good little buddies, although most of the time they look like this

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Because they just love eating. Especially Lomela. Mama Henriette likes to sing ‘Lomela, mange, peepee, caca’ , which means ‘eat, pee, and poop’, because that’s basically all she does. But if you look down the blog on what she used to look like, you can see how far she’s come. Her chest has filled out, her arms have a little bit of muscles, and today i saw the tiniest coat of short, fine hair. She is going to be the most beautiful bonobo in no time.

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Besides the food, what she needs, of course, is a lot of love. All the mamas here are going to make sure she gets it.

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health checks

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Today Lomela and Kata had their health checks. A special doctor came to take their blood so it could be analysed back at the lab. The results should be back in a few days and if everything checks out clear then they should be able to go into the nursery.

Lomela was really brave. She screamed once and then didn’t even whimper.


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We don’t know what Kata was like because my husband Brian, who took the pictures, faints like a southern belle at anything involving blood or needles and had to leave after he took this pic. I was doing a study with the babies in the nursery, so I’m sorry this report isn’t more detailed!

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Thanks to everyone who’s been worried about these two, but I think they’re going to be fine, especially once they get into the nursery with all the other baby bonobos.

They were both de-wormed as soon as they came in, and Anne Marie, the vet nurse says when the bonobos first arrive, if they have been starved for a long time, they eat the way Lomela does, as if there will never be enough food. I can understand. Still Crispin says Anne Marie should hide the food sometimes so Lomela can’t eat it all!

Kata not drinking

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Baby Kata looks so good compared to Lomela, it’s easy to forget what she’s been through.

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She has lacerations on her groin where the cord she was tied with cut into her. And there’s a little bare patch on her arm where the cord left scarring.

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Also, she’s not drinking any milk. It must have been quite a while since her mother died since she completely rejects the bottle. Also, she’s really skinny and pale under her hair. Her spirits seem good, but we hope she starts drinking milk soon. It’s hard for babies her age to survive without it.

Lomela on the other hand is eating and drinking like crazy. Seriously, mama Henriette says all Lomela does is eat, drink and poop. We were celebrating for a while but now Crispin the vet, is worried. Lomela’s stomach, which was deflating a little from malnutrition is now completely hard from so much food.

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Still, Lomela and Kata have become friends. They sleep together at night with their arms around each other.

But I still haven’t heard either of them laugh…

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New arrival

Hi, my name’s Vanessa and I come to Lola every year to study bonobo psychology. I’ll be reporting for Lola for the next few weeks.

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The new baby arrived today at 8:30 in the morning. She comes from Lodja, a particularly troublesome spot in the middle of Congo where they eat bonobos. So her parents were killed and the hunters were trying to sell her as a pet.

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There have been 5 baby bonobos confiscated from Lodja in the last few weeks. Two are dead. Two are now here, and there is another one arriving soon.

The staff here have given the new baby the most impossible name: Katakokombe. I’m never going to remember it. It’s a town in Congo. All the bonobos here are named after a village in Congo. It’s a neat trick because everyone who comes gets attached to the bonobo named after their home town. It reminds the Congolese that you can’t find bonobos anywhere else, and that they, as much as anyone, also belong to Congo.

Katakokombe seems in good health. She didn’t much like her bath.

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But she eats like a little pig.

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I didn’t disgrace myself by getting all teary because the worst is over for her. It’s only going to get better from here.

We spent all afternoon watching the bonobos. I realised how lucky they are to have made it here safely. I hope Kata grows up healthy and strong. I hope she makes new girlfriends and beats all the boys up.

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Lomela is looking great. Her swollen tummy has gone down and she has put a little more meat on her bones. Today when Kata came in, Lomela looked at her and gave a friendly squeal. Kata quealed back and the mamas said Lomela was asking for the latest Lodja gossip. It was really cute.

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I’ve already had a few emails asking me to describe our studies. I wont’ go into them here b/c this site is more for Lola news, but anyone interested in research can go to

http://bonobohandshake.blogspot.com