i know a few people have concerns about the release, so I'm going to try and address them here.
I know I've only been posting about the release for a while, but the planning stages have been going on for 3 years.
So, according to IUCN guidelines, all the possible candidates for release were isolated 6 months ago. This was to keep them in quarantine with little contact with humans. No visitors were allowed to pass them and this part of the sanctuary was roped off.
The candidates for release were closely monitored by vets and staff, so that an appropriate group could be chosen.
Lomela was moved out of the nursery in January
The final release group was not chosen until April.
During the flu, precautions were successfully taken so the release group was not contaminated. Staff were restricted to their enclosures and full sanitary measures were enforced.
Even in the wild, apes are exposed to human diseases. Because of the encroachment of human populations to wild habitats, contact with humans are unavoidable.
Also, in the forest where the bonobos will be released, no one has seen any wild bonobos in a decade. They have all been hunted out, which is why this is a good chance to take a genetically unrelated group of bonobos and repopulate the forests.
Ape releases have been conducted in every great ape species. Strict guidelines are being followed, and we have learned from their mistakes and their succes.
Also, the bonobos won't be just dumped int eh forest. Teams from Harvard and Duke will be following the bonobos after the release, and even after the researchers, there will be keepers at Lola there.
Please let me know if there are any more concern! But it might take me a while to get to them b/c i'm in Australia. Till then, I've set up some automatic posts to keep announcing the bonobos who will be released.