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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

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


'Hey Vanessa, I just read the newsletter and there was a big section about reintroduction plans. From what I read it doesn't sound like the local people in the area chosen are happy about this plan at all. They don't really seem to understand nor care about conservation of endangered species. So, please explain to me the importance of putting sanctuary-raised bonobos into a potentially disastrous situation (for bonobos and humans)? I understand that they'd live more naturally in the wild, but the wild is full of PEOPLE.'

Hey slb,

I assume you're talking about the Friends of Bonobos newsletter? It's true that the initial release site was where they hunted bonobos and also the local people wanted a lot more money than was reasonable, but the site near Basankusu has th efull support of the Po community who have agreed to be bonobo guardians.

There will always be danger for bonobos who are released, and probably half of the released bonobos will die. But here is why it is important.

Lola is the only bonobo sanctuary in the world and wild populations are decreasing. Bonobos are also the only ape who have never been released into the wild. What you don't want is for nearly all the bonobos to be gone, and the only bonobos left to be at Lola ya Bonobo and then say, 'oh darn it, I guess we'd better figure out how to release bonobos now.' Because then you only have one shot. Lola is reaching capacity, more orphans are coming in. We need to get it right, learn from our mistakes, so that when the time finally comes, we know how to successfully release bonobos into the wild.