Category Archives: Lola News

First day of school for Kinzia!

Yes, our little Kinzia can stand proud, she just recently joined the “big guys” in their enclosure… well they are bigger than her but little none-the-less…

For the moment, and as expected she never leaves her Mama’s lap and is wary of who comes to settle down beside her, but despite it all, she shows no signs of fear and seems quite pleased to be the centre of attention within the nursery!

She even takes the liberty, when the opportunity arises, to give out a few slaps to anyone who dares come too close without her authorisation.

All a bit much for such a little being, as soon as she leaves the enclosure she falls asleep in the comfortable arms of her Mama Astrid or Hortense… but sometimes in her fruit box.

Leopards… at Lola ya Bonobo !!!

On that particular day, Lola was buzzing!!! Pierrot, education manager at Lola, announced at the morning meeting that “Leopards” were arriving at the sanctuary… but no need to panic, these particular leopards represented no danger to our bonobos, quite the opposite in fact.

Indeed, he was referring to the DRC’s renowned national football team who were on their way to Lola to discover the bonobos and our cause and this, in order to spread the message encouraging bonobo conservation.

They paid great attention to the explanations given by both Suzy and Pierrot throughout their visit, and finished up at the nursery with a group photo as a souvenir.


Pierrot seized all the attention of the young sportsmen.


Suzy doesn’t explain Lola’s work with words… but with her heart!


A group photo, to the great joy of the Lola staff.

Our babies are growing up…

Here is a little peek at how the babies born at Lola between 2009 and 2011 are getting on.

Lisala and baby Nyota ya Lola, born December 4th 2011

Seven months old already, Nyota has started taking her first steps without her mother (although she is still very wobbly…) she stays very close nonetheless. A very promising start for a truly adorable little bonobo.



Kalina and baby Bolingo ya Lola, born May 29th 2011

Bolingo has always taken up “unconventional” positions in order to move around on his mother, he can be observed straddling her neck, sitting on her head or hanging onto one leg, an eccentric and acrobatic baby bonobo… who has begun to wonder a just few meters away from his mother always under her watchful eye!


Salonga and baby Kimya ya Lola, born June 28th 2009

Kimya is the ‘Lola born’ baby who has had the most independence from a very young age. Her mother, Salonga, gave her the minimum necessary care, leaving her daughter in the hands of all those who were willing to show an interest in her, luckily the list was long among both female and male bonobos. As a result, Kimya is a very resourceful and sociable little bonobo.


Semendwa and baby Makasi ya Lola, born January 27th 2010

Makasi is like a twin brother to Kimya, the two are inseparable. His mother, Semendwa, is the boss-lady in the enclosure, as the boss’ son he can do as he pleases and that is something he has clearly understood…


Tshilomba and baby Sanza ya Lola, born May 7th 2010

An adorable baby, when she feels confident enough she will come and push her round little belly up against the enclosure fence for a few tickles. In that way she is following in her mother’s footsteps, loving the interactions with her human carers. She is also very close to her brother Moyi, now aged four. The two spend a lot of time playing together.


Maya and baby Mayele ya Lola, born September 17th 2010

Mayele and Lyaka ar the best of friends, they spend their days rolling and chasing each other around.  He is now allowed to roam around as he sees fit, even if his mother is always keeping an eye on him. He spends a lot of time playing with his “Uncle Mbandaka”, the current dominant male of the group who he absolutely adores.


Kisantu and baby Liyaka ya Lola, born July 18th 2010

Liyaka is a real funny little one, she spends her days pulling funny faces and will have anyone who observes her long enough rolling over laughing… (to be discovered in an upcoming blog post !). Just like Mayele, she too is allowed to wonder around as she likes, or perhaps just in appearance, at the slightest problem her mother is there to scoop her up and protect her.

What news of the last orphans to arrive in the nursery at Lola ?

A few months ago we introduced you to the two orphan babies who had recently arrived at Lola ya Bonobo, Kinzia, a little female and Singi a little male.

We are pleased to give you the good news that both are doing very well, are in excellent health and full of beans.

And as you can see from the photo below, the bond between these two little bonobos is a strong one… a promising sign for the future!

(Photo Tanguy Dumortier)

Bandundu, mother of two!

Her little boy Wangolo is barely four years old, yet Bandundu recently gave birth to her second baby. This time around it’s a little girl that we have named “Moseka” which means “very young girl” in Lingala.

Females reaching the end of their pregnancy are usually the centre of a lot of attention from the health care staff at Lola… Bandundu however, surprised us all by giving birth overnight while we weren’t expecting her baby for a good while yet… We saw her coming out in the morning holding the little writhing body against her chest.

Both mother and baby are doing really well and little Wangolo is very curious of the tiny being stuck to his mother; indeed in a few months they will be able to play together… mischievous as he is we’re sure he will have a lot to teach her!

Photos : Emilie Genty

Bandundu (pregnant) with Wangolo, making the most while he has his mother to himself!

And here she is, little Moseka, so soon and already not a hair left on her little head!


Wangolo seems a little sceptical, his favourite spot in his mother’s arm sis constantly occupied by this new little sister…

Sad, sad news: the loss of four of our babies!

Last year went by with no major health problems at Lola. Now, half way through 2012 it is clear we won’t be spared this year.

One morning in late January, Kindu who was doing really well suddenly showed signs of sever abdominal pain, difficulty in breathing and neurological symptoms. Despite the rapid health care she was administered, she passed away that very afternoon.

Two months later, thinking that her case was isolated, Ombwe started showing the same worrying symptoms, followed rapidly by Kwilu and Kasaï. What a nightmare! The three little ones never made it, their short lives ended in the same abrupt and tragic way in just a few hours!

We have been working with the National Institute for Biomedical Research and the project Predict in order to try to identify the deadly bacteria that struck so fast. But we always run into the same complications: sending samples abroad for analysis for a highly protected species is very complicated. And the panel of exams available in the DRC is limited. The whole situation just reminds us of the epidemics of 2003 and 2006. While we wait to identify the pathogen we have had to put in place some precautionary measures in the nursery, a change of routine for everyone.

It has been a hard time for all and such a sad end for these little orphans who had such a promising start in their new lives at Lola! The news has taken time to get to you, for one, putting this news down in words has not been easy and secondly, we wanted to be able to give as much information as possible about these deaths. Unfortunately, we still have no clear explanation.


To read about their arrivals at Lola, click on the images below!








Ilebo, never lacking in imagination !!!

Our friend Ilebo decided to try out a new sport this week… The pole jump!

Deep in concentration, he really seemed to have the faith… and us too to be honest!

Photos : Emilie Genty

Unfortunately for him, his balance was a bit off, or maybe it was just the law of gravity and he crashed back down to earth, his fall broken by landing in the river…

He seemed amused none-the-less!


Bonobo personalities at Lola….

The bonobos at Lola, just like humans, each have their own personality. Here are a few as an example!

Photos: Emilie Genty


There are those who spend all their time laughing….

…like Eleke and Bisengo!


The sulkers…

Like Api in his favourite position…


The “drinkers”…

…Bili certainly seems to be on the bottle a lot!!!


And then there are the lazy ones…

…like Elikia observed here in the middle of a great effort!

Likasi is finally a mother !

Following several failed pregnancies, our lovely Likasi has finally made it into motherhood. She gave birth in the enclosure forest to a beautiful little female who we have named “Elonga” which means “Victory” in Lingala. The entire group of bonobos is in admiration of the little one… we can safely say the same for the Lola staff and visitors!

Likasi before: “Geez, I’m exhausted… they must be at least three in there!!!”


Likasi after:  “Water! Always water! You’d think they would have given me a bottle of champagne for the occasion!!!”

I epilate, you epilate, he epilates…

When it comes to the bonobos at Lola, the verb “to epilate” can indeed be conjugated from the 1st person singular, right through to the 3rd person plural…  I, you, he, she, we, you and they…

Be they big or small the bonobos at Lola adore this pass-time… much to their keepers’ despair. This incessant mutual hair-removal between them leaves them with lots of little scabs, which are not only unsightly but also increase the risk of infection.


(photos: Emilie Genty)

As you can see, a hairy bonobo is somewhat more attractive, and Max would definitely agree! He doesn’t let anyone pluck out his beautiful hair!

Not surprising seeing how much care goes into it!