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

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


hallo everyone! i am on holidays on the beach in australia. i thought i could blog from here but i can't because the sea water plugs up my ears and sand gets in my keyboard. no seriously, there is no internet down here, i am stealing the internet from someone's unsecured internet as we speak so can't tarry long.

will start posting again on nov 13 when i get back.

here is a picture of Bandundu's baby to look at while I am gone:)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sandoa meets everyone

Mama Esperance took Sandoa for a walk around the sanctuary today to see the other bonobos. Sandoa probably hasn't seen any adult bonobos since her mother was killed and the mamas like to take their babies around the sanctuary just so they can see how happy the other bonobos are and what life is like after the nursery.

Now that Sandoa is in good health it's important to look after her emotional state. i know it sounds corny, but i've seen bonobos just give up and die. they are like people in that if they can't think of anything to live for, they get so sad they can will themselves to death, even if they're in perfect health.

So the bonobo tour is to show Sandoa how the other bonobos live, and for them to recognise her. Today she saw Tchilombe with her new baby, Moyi, who is almost a year old, and then clever Likasi was cracking some nuts. Likasi went crazy when she saw Sandoa, she was calling and yelling, presenting for some g-g rubbing.... Likasi loves little females like Sandoa and she can't wait until Sandoa is big enough to come and play with her!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Here are the girls munching on some dinner. A friend of mine did a comparison between chimp babies and bonobo babies. Basically the baby chimp is at the bottom of the heirarchy. they have to give way to everyone, and learn to grovel at a very early age otherwise they get beaten up.

The bonobo baby on the other hand, is king pin. Anything Bisengo wants, he gets. He can be reaching for a grape on the other side of the enclosure, and even the big males will scamper out of the way to let him get it. Otherwise, Bisengo's mother, Maya, will get her best girlfriend, Etumbe, who will rally Chelumbe and Lisala and together they will kick the big males butt.

I was a bonobo baby because i would beat anyone up to get food.
Which baby were you? Or if you have kids, are they chimps or bonobos?

Here is little Bisengo who has just stolen a piece of mango from Keza, the adult male.

Sponsor a bonobo today!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Good news for Sandoa

Masisi & Sandoa

The results are back from the lab - Sandoa is in perfect health! Besides the deep cut around her groin where she was tethered in captivity, she is fine. The cut still has to be treated with antibiotics to prevent infection, but that too is healing nicely.

This means Sandoa was finally allowed into the nursery! After weeks of sitting on Mama's Esperance's lap, gazing at the others playing with each other, Sandoa was brought in gently to meet the others.

The first bonobo who touched her was Masisi (what a sweetheart). She walked right up to Sandoa and gently kissed her to welcome her into the group. Mama Esperance made sure there were lots of sugar cane (Sandoa's favourite). Masisi then brought over Waka, who was a little rough so then Masisi slapped Waka as if to say 'play nice!'

Masisi (left) with Sandoa

masisi gives Sandoa little friendly hug!

Sando curled up on Mama Esperance's lap and drank a whole bottle of milk. Esperance was a little worried over the past weeks since Sandoa, like Kata, took a little while before she would drink. You can see that Sandoa is still a little thin.

Waka comes in a bit tough, but Masisi is protecting little Sandoa

This last picture is my favourite - Sandoa getting her bath in the morning!

Sponsor a bonobo!