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Please go to my new Psychology Today blog to see what I'm up to. To buy the book, Bonobo Handshake, please visit my website. To follow the adventures of the Lola ya Bonobo orphans, please visit Friends of Bonobos

Friday, September 14, 2007

Into the forest

We went into the forest with the Korean film crew. It was amazing. The best thing about it was to see all the bonobos in the trees. Most bonobos, after their parents are shot, end up either dead or in someone’s house as a pet. They grow up alone and die young. Somehow, for these few, their luck changed and they end up here at Lola in an amazing forest where they have space and trees and food.

All the staff here have a connection with the bonobos that you can’t find anywhere else. Most of them know every bonobo since they were babies and there is a confidence and trust that is really touching.

I am probably most impressed with Crispin. For a bonobo, he is the equivalent of a dentist. He stabs them with needles, shoots them with darts loaded with anaesthetic, operates on them which leaves them sore and in pain. You’d expect they would run a mile when they see him coming. Or at least throw a few punches when he gets close enough. But the bonobos love him. He delivers their babies, gives them medicine when they are sick, and takes their temperature when they are feverish. He has an extremely gently way about him that seems to calm them.