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Sunday, November 30, 2008

happy thanksgiving

orf. i would have posted this on time, except i was too busy scoffing turkey and then lolling on the couch in a tryptophan induced slumber.

news at lola is that the agreement between the Po and Lola ya Bonobo has been signed! a 20,000 hectare area near Basankusu is now officially the sitefor the bonobo release next year!

For those that don't know, this will be the world's first bonobo release. Every other great ape species has been reintroduced into the wild, except bonobos. Even though we could lose as many as half the animals we release, it's important to do this now so we can figure out a way that works, rather than leave it until we have the very last bonobos and THEN have to figure out how to release them.

Some of you have been curious about why we haven't already released all the bonobos back into the wild. It would save sanctuary running costs of $300,000 a year, and the bonobos would be better of the wild, wouldn't they?

The truth is, reintroduction is very risky. First you have to make sure the area is safe, and the bonobos you release wont be hunted and killed as soon as you let them go. Then you have to keep feeding the bonobos because the years they've spent in the sanctuary means they won't be able to find all their food. The area has to be large enough to have the feeding requirements, and isolated enough that they won't keep running into the nearest village to steal food from humans.

The site near Basankusu is perfect. The local Po community has agreed to become guardians for the bonobos, which will provide much more protection than hiring men with guns. The forest is full of fruiting trees and there are no other bonobos that will be in competition for resources.

Our vets are at the release site right now to sort out the logistics of how they'll manage the bonobos, where to hold equipment, facilities for medical emergencies, etc.

Watch this space for new developments.

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