Suzy wrote to us to tell us about the latest bonobo antics:
Our bonobos got all caught up on the local’s most valuable activity… extracting wine from the palm trees scattered through the reserve. These palm trees are often left with containers in them in order to collect the drink, up until now they had been in zones which the bonobos haven’t really frequented, particularly right on the river bank.
Jug for collecting palm wine.
But then the other day, walking through the forest, we were surprised to see Lomela, the youngest in the female alliance, spot a jug hanging up high in a palm tree. Curious as she is, she climbed up and began sipping the wine, in a proclamation of joy at the sweet drink she began vocalising, attracting the attention of the whole group who each helped themselves in turn.
Lomela after a refreshing beverage
The best part was for the females of the alliance, who obviously had first dibs…and of course the wine tasting was followed by a sex orgy to celebrate such a great finding!!! Poor Kubulu was the only one to not get a taste, not easy when you’re not allowed to get in the big guys gang. Fortunately, fresh palm wine has no alcohol in it being that it hasn’t yet fermented… so no drunk bonobos and the day went on as usual!
All the bonobos are doing really well in the forest. Two wild births so far (even though both of them conceived at the sanctuary, so we’re still waiting for the first wild born bonobo. The bonobos have expanded their foraging range, which means they are less and less dependant on the supplementary food.
I know all of you adopted parents are wondering where lomela is – never fear! the trackers have tabs on our release group. As part of post release monitoring, the bonobos are followed into the forest every day, and ‘put to bed’ every night, which means the trackers wait until they have made their night nests so they can find them in the morning.
So here is your little girl. growing up fast!
Lukaya is a more tolerant mother than Etumbe, says Suzy.
Young Lomela dreams of being an aunty to the two babies on the release site, Nsomi and Motema. Etumbe was kind enough to let her take care of Nsomi but Lomela seized the opportunity and made off with the baby up into the canopy – rapidly retrieved! Etumbe chased her – enough is enough!
When Lomela took Lukaya’s baby and started to gain a little distance it was Mbano who blew the whistle! Seeing Lukaya’s laxity in the situation, Mbano took the baby from Lomela and brought him back safely to his mother!
it’s taken us a while to get our act together with donation items, apparently the rangers in Congo are more technical than us:) but now we’re on. For $20 a month, one of these two delightful girls can be yours!
Lomela and Kata still sleep with their arms around each other, you can see Lolo on the right – isn’t she amazing with all that hair!!! And there’s Kata on the left, the little sook, apparently before this picture was taken she threw a huge tantrum because she didn’t want to go to bed.
It costs quite a bit to keep Lomela in bananas, apparently she eats even more than when i was there – and i once saw her eat 3 bananas, 2 mangoes, 3 pieces of sugar cane and some weird red fruit all in one go!
That’s PVC piping Lolo. You can’t eat it! Please someone sponsor her so she doesn’t starve!
Ok guys, I know you’ve been waiting a long time for this, and here she is – tu da!
can you believe it! Look how big she is – and that hair!! I can’t beleive she has her hand in the food bin. Typical! According to all the mamas she is a sweet tempered bonobo, very friendly with all the others as well as playful. she’s also really calm, unlike Kata who is a big of a tantrum thrower.
She’s so different to the little waif I first saw here.
Look at her tummy, normal sized now instead of distended from malnutrition. And she’s HUGE, happy and laughing. What a wonderful beginning to a new story…
Our two little girls are doing well. Lomela especially is covered in a fine layer of downy hair. You can’t see it from the photos, but in a few weeks you’ll see she’s on her way to becoming a beautiful little bonobo.
Both Kata and Lomela had a few hours in the nursery the other day, just to get them used to having other kids around. Lomela was fine, she just ate while the other little ones pulled on her arm and g-g rubbed her (genital – genital rubbing for those who aren’t familiar with the bonobo handshake:), but Kata found it a little stressful. You can see Lomela looking out at the others playing, stuffing her little face with a mango, but Kata clung to Mama Henriette the whole time.
She’s still so thin and tiny under all that hair. Then Boyoma, are boistrous three year old boy, who isn’t above sinking his little fangs into my trousers when I get too close to his Mama Micheline, yanked Kata’s arm a little too hard and she screamed at him angrily and buried herself in Mama Henriette’s bosom. This is Boyoma, the little terror.
So it will still be a little while before Kata is ready for the nursery full time, and Lomela will keep her company until she is strong enough.
Lomela is getting better. It’s hard to see day by day, but when you look at the photos from when she was rescued from Lodja, you can see the difference.
Here she is a month ago, when Pierrot and Blaise, our education officers went with Anne Marie, our nurse to rescue her.
When Anne Marie gave her a bath, all the village children came out to watch.
Today, she still looks bad, but she’s filling out, slowly but surely. Her Maman Henriette says it’s mostly her spirit that suffers. If she decides to survive, she’ll live. If she decides to die, there’s nothing we can do except try to convince her that everything gets better from here.
Lomela arrived two weeks ago. She was found by an organisation in Lodja called ACOPRIK (Action Communautair pour la Protection des Primates du Kasai) and brought to the sanctuary.
Pierrot, our education officer says Lodja is a terrible area because the local people eat bonobos. Lomela is lucky she made it to the sanctuary alive.
We are still not sure if Lomela will make it. Yesterday she started to breathe hard and fast and we were afraid her lungs were filling with fluid. All the babies in the nursery have a cold. We hope Lomela is strong enough to fight the infection and it doesn’t develop into pneumonia.
Henriette, her surrogate mother is taking care of her. Everyday I ask Henriette how Lomela is, and every day she says, better.
Mwanda, one of the female infants is especially fond of Lomela. She understands she has to be gentle and doesn’t bulldoze Lomela like she does with the other infants. When Mwanda sees Lomela, she always gives her a quick hug.