This blog has moved!

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

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Until next year...

Well, I'm back in Germany. My face gets frozen every time I go outside and all the snot in my nose has dried up because I've gone from 100% - 0% humidity in a couple of hours.

I've had the most fun ever writing this blog. Over 32,000 people have read about their remarkable weirdness, and instead of feeling alone in my bonobo world, I feel somehow connected.

Thank you to all those people who read the blog. Thank you to all those people who wrote wonderfully warm and encouraging comments, you really made my day every time I felt your enthusiasm in the sweltering Congo summer. Thank you to all those people who had questions and criticisms, and giving me an opportunity to share what I knew, and to take on board what you knew.

To all those who want to help bonobos, go to . You can adopt a bonobo from the sanctuary, help translate newsletters, or better still, go and visit them yourself.

For those who want a more armchair experience, I'm giving 10% of the profits of my new book, It's every monkey for themselves to Lola ya bonobo sanctuary. To buy a copy click here. To read more about it, and check out reviews, go to my website,

Anyone who wants me to let you know when I start the blog again next May, send your email to with the Subject: Bonobo Handshake List, and I'll shoot an email just before the next blog starts.

Finally, I want to show you some pictures that you haven't seen yet, that are my favourite memories.

Once again, and a million more times,

Thank you.


Max, being as beautiful and rippling as a bonobo boy can be. They call Max, le gorille, because he spent years in a gorilla sanctuary. When he arrived at Lola, he actually spoke gorilla, that is, low rumbling calls, instead of high bonobo squeaks.

I love this photo of Isiro. She looks like a dancer. And I love the way her toe almost touches the log, but not quite.

Baby Bisengo, the undisputed king of group 2, having a little sip of mummy's breast milk.

Claudine and Kata. Every bonobo, from the youngest to the biggest is fascinated by her flaming red hair.

Lomela getting chased by the chicken. Lomela was so scared she screamed and jumped into my arms.

Lomami's hand. Every single one of his fingers, some of his toes, and bits of his penis were sliced off to use in black magic. Witch doctors use bonobo parts in black magic. When Lomami arrived, all his wounds were in different stages of healing. Which means they kept him in a cage, chopped on one of his fingers off. Left him for a few days, came back and chopped off another finger. Claudine said, he was so sick and listless from all the torture, she didn't think he would make it. He spent his first year in a tree, alone. Even now, he doesn't come near people.

Lukaya, picking Lomami's nose.

Semendwa asking for an apple. She doesn't beg with an arm outstretched like other bonobos. She stands up tall and proud as a queen. Then when I still took too long to give her an apple because I was taking a photo, she threw a handful of mud in my face.

Noki with her bedroom eyes.

Kata laughing for the first time. It was soon after I thought she would die. I'd been playing with her and tickling her for weeks, but she never smiled, and looked so sad when I tried to play. When she laughed, I would have given anything, anything at all to keep her laughing all day, every day for the rest of her life.