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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

fighting in the congo - what this means for bonobos

I've had a few emails about fighting in the Congo and whether it will affect the bonobos. From what I can gather from the news, the rebel leader Nkundu is staging his own personal war in the east. Nkundu, FYI was a contender for the presidency of Congo in 2006, and when he wasn't on the final ticket, he took off east where he's been opposing the government ever since.

Of course no war will be good for the bonobos. Part of the problem is that the soldiers aren't usually paid, which means they hunt in the forest. There is no way to tell exactly how many bonobos will be killed. We do see a spike in orphans arriving at the sanctuary after a war, either because the soldiers aren't hungry enough to eat the infants or because they are so hungry they are hunting more than usual.

Having said that, the region of the fighting is not where the highest concentration of the bonobo population is, which is more in the middle than in the east. So we can hope the bonobos will remain unscathed, but I don't think this is very likely.