Tag Archives: flu at the sanctuary

Tea With Honey and Lemon

One of the cutest moments in the whole ordeal was the honey and lemon tea – everyone of the 60 bonobos was given warm tea with honey and lemon – we were trying everything at that stage! Masisi, another bonobo who was really sick, recovered and here is Mama Yvonne giving her honey and lemon tea out of a tea cup – tell me that’s not the cutest!!!!

We still need more than $20,000 for bonobo food – please help if you can. www.friendsofbonobos.org/support.htm or lolayabonobo.wildlifedirect.org

mama serving tea

masis chugging tea


Just like in humans, the flu is most dangerous for little babies. Semendwa’s baby was too young to make it, he got sick too quick, but Claudine and the vet Marie Laure did manage to save Chi Chi’s baby, Moyi, who is hanging on to Mama Henriette below. it is always a tough choice to take a baby, you have to anesthetise the mother first which is traumatic and can be dangerous. But Moyi ended up being a happy story, he came from his mom for two nights and slept with Suzy, keeping her up all night long. Then after two days, Claudine brought him back to the enclosure, he squealed when he saw his mom, ran and gave her a big hug … then he ran BACK to Claudine, waiting to go back to the fun place where he got all those yummy treats!!

moyi enjoying a treat, optimized

But Chi Chi held him close. She was so happy to see him, she was hugging and kissing him, I cried (for everyone who’s wondering, I actually do not cry every day willy nilly).

And something special; when Moyi was away, we went to Chi Chi’s enclosure to try and find some sugar cane for him to eat. I saw Chi Chi, she was sitting huddled over, looking really sad. When she saw me, she came over to the fence, looking hard at me as though I might be hiding her baby in my pocket.

I said, “Chi Chi, I just need some sugar cane for Moyi, can you see any?”

Then she handed me a big juicy chunk right through the fence. I know, as a scientist, you can’t make any conclusions, especially since if Chi Chi speaks anything, she speaks French, not English, but I took the sugar cane back to Moyi and said his mom sent it to him with hugs and kisses, just in case he could understand.

We still need another $20,000 for bonobo food – please help if you can: www.friendsofbonobos.org/support.htm or lolayabonobo.wildlifedirect.org.

Kikongo In Recovery

Have to be honest, I haven’t been sleeping. Now the flu is over, I was going to just move on and keep going but it never happened. In the middle of the day I just start tearing up for no reason. Then there are my obsessive walks, pacing the sanctuary peering into everybody’s faces to make sure there is no sign of a rerun. There isn’t. But Brian, tired of all my tossing and turning and keeping him awake, suggested I concentrate on the bonobos saved by the amazing staff here. Promise I will move on soon, but I hope you won’t mind me sharing a few stories.

During the crisis: Kikongo, the bonobo our student Suzy rescued in the middle of the night, is convalescing in the nursery. He is about 8 years old now, and usually in with the juveniles. After scaring us to death for two days – he was face down in the forest when Suzy found him, and she had to carry him to the vet block on her back – he spent another 48 hours being treated with oxygen while he gasped for breath. Anyway, the mamas are now keeping a close eye on him while he is in with the little ones.

It was like one of the cool high school kids just turned up at preschool – all the babies were following him around like he was a rock star, and even Kata, who won’t say ‘boo’ to a fly, couldn’t stop offering her swelling. That’s her pushing her bottom in Kikongo’s face. Kikongo was living it up, having sex with everyone and stealing all the milk – because he is a full head taller than everyone else.

lukuru and kikongo
Kata and Kikongo

kikkers with the babies

kikkers stealing milk

Flu and Lodja

We’ve had the most terrible flu epidemic. Lodja died and there are so many bonobos sick. The vets are giving them hot tea with lemon and honey and all the medicine they have but the bonobos seem to fall ill so quickly. It’s something respiratory, the bonobos start breathing really quickly. Brian and Suzy had to pull Kikongo out of the forest last night and now he can barely breath. everyone is so afraid.

lodja and vanessa
Lodja and Vanessa


I really needed this today. it’s been so stressful with all the bonobos sick.

Anyway, was up at the nursery watching like a hawk for the slightest sign of infection and i saw kata giving tchhi a kiss. kata has turned from a total drama queen into a real sweetie. she is so shy.

katako kissing tchhi

Claudine says march is always terrible. the sanctuary has been closed to all visitors to stop any transfer or get the bonobos sicker.

I hope it passes soon!


katako is here with eleke eating sugar cane in the shade.

katako and eleke

It is so hot, it’s so strange that it’s a flu. it’s definitely something viral. antibiotics do nothing.

Please Help!

I know everyone’s been waiting for news and i wish i had better news. i have never seen anything like this epidemic. it’s like some kind of plague. you go down to the night building and there are 10 bonobos face down, arms spread eagle, and they can’t breathe. they just breath in and out, in and out, like they’re suffocating. it starts with a mucous-filled nose, but the bonobos always seem to have snotty noses, so it’s a walking heart attack.

Kikongo was really sick, but he seems a bit better now. this should make everyone who has been here feel better, because kikongo is such a character. he’s one of the funniest bonobos at lola, he likes doing armless cartwheels and running around in circles until he gets dizzy and falls over. if he dies it is just going to break my heart.

The nursery is somehow OK, but they have had it pass through two times now, and Luozi is sick, which means he could give it to everyone. i don’t know how the nursery is going to stand a third round.

I spoke to Claudine today about the budget deficit. the problem is one of the foundations who has paid for the bonobo food for years has completely slashed our funding. which means this year we are $33,000 down. I have never really asked urgently for donations. i like doing ‘sponsor a bonobo for valentines day’ and stuff like that, but this time Lola is really in trouble. please spread the word, and help if you can.

Kikongo when he is feeling better – please don’t die!!!




Thank you to Carole Riley, Natacha Santos, Andrew Francis, Angelita Fair …

And a very BIG thank you to Jason Comeaux, who donated $400.

Thanks to our Wildlife Direct donors:
Maciej G.
Theresa S.
Corinna M.
Kit C
Ji-ln L.
Sherri S.
Dina C.
Wanda H.
Robin D.

No one died today, (thank god) but Lukuru has a snotty nose, which is the first sign of it. Please please pleeeeeese don’t let it spread through the nursery!

Lola in Trouble

I have some sad news. Kindu was found dead in the forest. This flu epidemic is absolutely horrible. Claudine thinks it was the terrible virus that ran through Kinshasa. There is no fever. Antiobiotics don’t do anything. The bonobos have severe respiratory infections and then they can’t breath for 3 days then they die. It’s 6 bonobos in a month now, including Mimi and her baby.

I know we’re doing a release drive but at the moment we desperately need funds for Lola. Because of the financial crisis, we have a shortfall this year for the sanctuary. Anything you can spare would help so much.

The flu virus has hit group 2 and there are 10 bonobos sick. I can’t take anyone else dying!!! I miss mimi so much. Then mixa, Mimi’s baby, Kisantu’s baby, Lodja. I haven’t had time to process any of it. Claudine told me this morning about the shortfall in the budget and i couldn’t believe it. Please send anything you can.

I just hope it doesn’t spread to the nursery or group 3. If Lomela or Kata or Lukuru or any one of the babies gets sick i think i’ll go crazy!


Sweet Kindu