The following is a PASA press release - Anne Marie, our nurse who brought Lomela back to health just won the Siddle Marsden award!
A Congolese nurse who travels to remote sections of central Africa to rescue bonobos and once left her family to spend Christmas day nursing an orphaned bonobo back to health has won the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) Siddle-Marsden Award for 2009, given annually to the African caregiver that best exemplifies the spirit of conservation and dedication at primate sanctuaries.
Anne Marie Ngalula works at the Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which cares for 63 bonobos at its sanctuary facility in Kinshasa.
“PASA is extremely proud to be able to present this award to Anne Marie Ngalula,” said Doug Cress, executive director of PASA. “Anne Marie’s commitment to the conservation and welfare of bonobos is exemplary, and her ability to utilize human medical care on behalf of bonobos is one of the reasons Lola ya Bonobo is so successful at rescuing and rehabilitating this endangered species.”
The PASA Siddle-Marsden Award was created in 2008 to honor the African staff member at a PASA sanctuary that best embodies a commitment to primates, a commitment to conservation, and a commitment to excellence. This year’s award will be presented at the PASA 2009 Management Workshop, which will be staged May 19-21 in Columbus, Ohio, and the winner receives a plaque and a $250 prize.
Mosses Kapia of the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone won the PASA Siddle-Marsden Award in 2008.
The award is named after David Siddle and Stella Marsden, both of whom were pioneers in the field of African primates sanctuaries.
Ngalula’s background in nursing made her a valuable addition to the staff at Lola ya Bonobo, the only sanctuary in Africa that cares for bonobos. Since bonobos tend to prefer women to men, Ngalula is often the only one able to give veterinary care to sick primates, and it is Ngalula who handles everything from injections to recapturing escaped animals.
When an infant bonobo was confiscated after being smuggled into France over Christmas in 2005, it was Ngalula who took charge of the infant’s care. Although the baby was so dehydrated its skin was peeling off, Ngalula cared for the infant – named “Malou” – by applying medical cream to her wounds and rehydrating the infant throughout the holidays.
Despite being terrified of flying, Ngalula has traveled to the most remote sections of DR Congo to rescue bonobos confiscated from poachers and illegal traders, most of whom would have died without her care.
Ngalula is the single mother of three children, yet she spends long hours at Lola ya Bonobo and is steadfast in her commitment to bonobos. When the sanctuary reintroduces two social groups of bonobos back into the wild later this year, Ngalula will be in charge of the veterinary protocols.