Category Archives: Reintroduction

Mathieu’s presentation at Lola

Nouvelle image

Mathieu, one of our workers at Ekolo ya Bonobo, the ABC’s reintroduction project, passed through at the sanctuary during a short time of convalescence. While he was there he did a presentation for the staff at Lola explaining his work. Mathieu is not only a tracker at Ekolo but also heads up the CDV meetings in 6 villages around the bonobos’ forest reserve. What is the CDV?? Well Village Development Committees: the whole idea is to support the surrounding villages and the populations that we work with, to help them get back on their feet after the many years of war and to become self-sufficient. Mathieu is mediator and presenter at these meetings, the link between the population and the ABC. He also returns to the villages regularly to see the progress in different projects such as schools, agriculture, fishing… etc.

Nouvelle image (1)

This presentation was very interesting for the “city-dwelling” Lola staff, learning about a whole other aspect of work within the ABC. Their interest was confirmed by the multitude of questions that were fired at Mathieu once he had finished! There was no doubt that each of them where glad and proud to share their knowledge and experiences.

For comparison here is Mathieu hosting the CDV meetings in the villages surrounding the reintroduction site:

News from Ekolo ya Bonobo

Here is beautiful photo of Etumbe and her latest little one, Nsomi, who is now nearly two years old, at the reintroduction site of Ekolo ya Bonobo.

Their hair has grown back well, leading us to believe that the time spent foraging in the forest leaves little time for sessions of hair plucking!

More bonobos on their way to Ekolo ya Bonobo…

On the 17th of April yet another group of bonobos headed off for the wild! Early in the morning preparations began for the transfer of Tembo, Boyoma, Nioki and her baby boy, Bomengo!

Nioki goes under for the final tests as little Bomengo holds on tight to her.

Everything went well, Nioki was a bit stressed at the airport but the presence of people she knows around her was a great help in keeping her as calm as possible!


Boyoma and keeper Jean-Claude.

Nioki, proud mother, just after Bomengo’s birth.

More news and photos soon!!!

Reintroduction – part II – first trip into the forest

All together to witness the three arrivals first walk into the forest

They have already found the spring… and seem to like it!

A big and special THANK YOU to the WSPA-Africa and USFWS, two of our generous donors, for their support for the ABC’s reintroduction project.

Reintroduction – part II – discovering new food in the forest

Check out the new skill…

There you go… not so complicated after all is it?


Not bad this new food we find in the forest…


Ok, so me shoots may not be as fat as the others’ but soon enough I’ll learn and blow you all away!


Reintroduction – part II – socialising with the other bonobos

Our three new arrivals out of the enclosure and mingling with the other eight bonobos who have been in Ekolo since June 2009:

Kikongo, Tshilenge, Nsomi and Etumbe

Kikongo would be a great dad if bonobos males invested in their children!!!

Sankuru, as usual, the centre of attention of females and males alike!

Reintroduction – part II – leaving Basankusu

So everything went really well, currently Kikongo, Sankuru and Tshilenge are getting used to their new life at Ekolo.

Tshilenge and Kikongo (who has found a new friend in Lukaya), have fallen into the pace of the group. Sankuru still spends a fair bit of time with the trackers but with no physical contact which is really great so soon!

As for their nests… not a problem… they already had the technique down, we can’t say as much for the pulling up of young shoots. They give it all they’ve got and mainly improvise… but never give up! They’ll soon find the right technique!

They are all happy to be together, so much so that we are afraid to say that the plucking of hairs during grooming sessions has started up again!!! Shame… our Ekolo bonobos had become so beautiful!

Leaving Basankusu with the three bonobos…

Arrival at Mombengele and a last effort from our men carrying the heavy cages!!!

We would also like to thank those who helped us on the big day:

The officials from the Congolese Ministry for the Environment, Congolese Air Traffic Control, and workers at N’djili airport, Kinshasa, The air company ‘Air Kasaï’, the local authorities in Basankusu and of course the ABC staff that showed itself truly professional.

Reintroduction – part II – arrival at Mombengele

Last few moments in their cages after 9 hours of travelling…

The cages were set down within the arrival enclosure…

1st few steps towards freedom…

Quick news from Ekolo

Yesterday we received a message from Fanny, the Lola vet, who accompanied the three bonobos to Ekolo ya Bonobo.

On their first night spent inside the enclosure at Mombengele, Tshilenge was very calm, Kikongo was desperately looking for a way to get out and join the others on the other side of the electric fence and Sankuru was running around trying to attract as much attention as possible… very Sankuru!!! No doubt Beni will be happy to have a new female who doesn’t yet have a baby who can give him a lot of attention… and it has to be said, Sankuru has always had a lot of success with the males!!!

On the second day they were released from the enclosure to join the others…We don’t yet have any details of how the day went though we know that it went very well, but on their first night of freedom they climbed up to the top of the trees and made their first wild nests along with the other 8 bonobos!!!  We saw this with the first group but it has to be said that their ease for adaptability is still a wonderful surprise!!!

More news and photos soon!

Such great news to share…. Ekolo ya Bonobo – the second reintroduction!

The second phase of the reintroduction has finally taken place… after logistical problems of all sorts we were finally able to get started on the morning of the 22nd of March 2011.

Jean-Claude and Papa Phillippe prepare the cages for transporting the bonobos.

All the staff members involved were up and ready at 1:30am, the veterinarian work began at 2:00am and everything and everyone was ready by 4h30.

The day begins in the middle of the night… perhaps a little stressed judging by Suzy on the right.

Our Vet Fanny sits with the bonobos as they wake up.

Lukoli, Jean-Claude and maman Yvonne prepare to say goodbye to the bonobos thay have been training for over 18 months.

Suzy in charge of Ekolo, Anne-Marie our nurse and Fanny the vet.

A few final tests are prepared as the bonobos go under…


The three bonobos and the accompanying team left Lola at 5:00am for N’djili airport were the plane was awaiting them. The paperwork went fairly smoothly, the cages (and bonobos) were weighed and loaded onto the plane and just as planned the plane closed its doors at 7:00am.

The journey went very well, with virtually no stress,… Sankuru, Tshilenge and Kikongo finally on their way to freedom… after the plane ride they were transported to the ABC headquarters in Basankusu and loaded onto the dug-out canoe for the 45 minute journey to Mombengele.

The Bonobos at Ekolo had spent a few days at Djoko, a site located a fair few kilometres south of Mombengele… but as though they had heard that they had newcomers (and old friends) on the way they headed back up to the enclosure and Mombengele on the evening of the 21st.

To be continued…..