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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

Friday, January 30, 2009


I've had some very sad news from Lola. Mimi has died in childbirth.

I'm completely shocked since I didn't even know bonobo could die in childbirth, like people. I'm not sureof the cirumstances, maybe internal bleeding? Her baby is still alive, but we're not sure how long he can survive.

For those of you who don't know Mimi, she was one of the most famous bonobos at Lola. The Congolese children love to hear about her because she lived with a family for 15 years. She could open refrigerators, flush toilets, and love having her nails painted.

When she first came to Lola, she didn't know how to be a bonobo. She didn't at all like being outside all the time, and had never even had sex - a 15 year old bonobo virgin! Everyone at Lola called Mimi 'La princesse', but really she was a queen.

She always went in first to the night building, and sat at the entrance deciding who was allowed in. Mostly it was her best friend, Semendwa, and the other girls. The little boys she made sit out in the tunnel until she went to sleep.

My favourite memory of Mimi is how she waggled her bottom and clapped when she wanted something in your hand, like banana or mango. She woudl waggle her bottom back and forth like a salsa dancer until you gave her whatever you had, like she knew you would.

Mimi was loved by everyone, Claudine has already recieved 247 condolence messages at Mimi's passing.

We love you Mimi, Lola won't be the same without you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

oh la la...

Check out this from the nyt...

Meredith Chivers is a creator of bonobo pornography. She is a 36-year-old psychology professor at Queen’s University in the small city of Kingston, Ontario, a highly regarded scientist and a member of the editorial board of the world’s leading journal of sexual research, Archives of Sexual Behavior. The bonobo film was part of a series of related experiments she has carried out over the past several years. She found footage of bonobos, a species of ape, as they mated, and then, because the accompanying sounds were dull — “bonobos don’t seem to make much noise in sex,” she told me, “though the females give a kind of pleasure grin and make chirpy sounds” — she dubbed in some animated chimpanzee hooting and screeching. She showed the short movie to men and women, straight and gay. To the same subjects, she also showed clips of heterosexual sex, male and female homosexual sex, a man masturbating, a woman masturbating, a chiseled man walking naked on a beach and a well-toned woman doing calisthenics in the nude.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Do they think you're sexy?

Next question!

Anonymous said...

I'm curious if Bonobo's would ever consider a human being to be a potential sexual partner?

There are other mammals that will mate outside of their species (humans included!). Just curious if bonobos make advances on humans they are close to.

Well this had to come up sooner or later. The truth is, I don't know. the confusing thing about bonobos is that sex for them is a tension relevieng activity. So when they get tense, or anxious, they want to do some kind of sexual activity. this isn't sex, per se, but more of a rubbing.

there is, by the way, a nerve that goes straight from your brain to your genitals, so stress in your brain can manifest itself, you know... in lower areas. Actually when i was younger and i used to play the piano, horribly, so I was making mistakes all the time and getting very frustrated, I would actually feel physical pain in my nether regions.

i think this is how it is for bonobos. they want to be rubbed or soothed, base 1, rather than a home run.

so in summary, i think the come ons i've recieved from bonboos have been more like a handshake, a sort of hello how are you, no I don't mean you any harm. I've never heard of anyone having sex with a chimp or a bonobo, and yes i do find the idea a little disgusting.

having said that, here is Tatanga, who I am a little in love with, giving me a particularly sexy smile...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

evan on bonobo pants!

Evan, one of our graduate students who studies bonobos at Lola has just joined the band of brothers at

It means he gets half price pants! which is good coz he's a student and broke. Evan worked very hard on his essay all christmas eve. his whole family was admiring that he was so dedicated to his studies, but actually he was just gunning for half price pants. they're great pants tho. check them out. and here is his essay reproduced b/c of all that effort...

I work in the department of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University and my research focuses on the question of what makes humans unique. I explore this question by trying to understand how we are similar and different from our two closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos. People have studied chimpanzees for a long time and lots of ideas about humans are based on what we know about chimps. It is only recently that our equally close relative, the bonobo, has stepped into the anthropological limelight. Compared to chimpanzees, bonobos live in peaceful, relatively friendly societies. We’re hoping that humans can take a lesson from bonobos and were glad you’ve embraced that philosophy as well.

Ironically, the peaceful bonobos live only in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. We observe the bonobos at Lola ya Bonobo, a sanctuary dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of orphan bonobos. Additionally, Lola ya Bonobo works hard to help the Congolese people by teaching school children about the special responsibility they have to protect and cherish the remaining wild populations of bonobos. Through collaboration with Congolese science students, we are developing an international team of researchers dedicated to learning about and learning from bonobos. Ultimately we hope that our work for protection and increased knowledge of bonobos will help humans celebrate peace and tolerance in similar ways.

Although a career researching bonobos will never be lucrative, I will always be spoiled with their good company. If you see fit, I would be honored to join the good company of the Band of Brothers. You will find no better looking, more stylish ape than a bonobo, and with your help, the researchers studying them will look just as good.

Monday, January 19, 2009

happy birthday to christine!

just want to shout out to christine, one of lomela's adopted moms. she has a big birthday on tuesday, and i wanted to thank her for her support.

in fact, christine wrote the very first comment ever on the wildlife direct blog

'Oh my gosh, thank you so much for the news about Lomela… I know a number of us have been waiting with baited breath!! Seriously, this just made my day…I have her picture (the one of her eating the mango) as our computer wall paper at home…it just cracks me up everytime I see her…my husband loves her now too! And welcome to Kata..she already seems well on her way to good heath and bonobo happiness…and kudos to all who are helping nurse all these precious babies back to health and are working to educate the villagers!'

when kata was dying, it was christine and some of the other faithful followers who made me feel less alone, and there were people out there who cared. so thank you christine. lolo sends you a big birthday kiss

Friday, January 16, 2009

lolo & lukuru

Sweet little Lomela is definately the bigshot at the nursery. Since Kata is now BFF with Eleke, Lolo's has transferred her considerable affections to Lukuru - the smallest in the nursery. They make quite a pair - Lomela has eaten her way into her six year old body and Lukuru is still barely bigger than a banana.

Lolo watches over Lukuru every night in her nearby box, and the mamas often come in to find Lomela staring at Lukuru lovingly. Mama Micheline is both Lomela's substitute mother and Lukurus, and so the rest of the mamas call them sisters:)

Lomela grabs Lukuru's foot!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mini sasquatch for adoption at Lola!

Some of you might remember the post I did about Bigfoot

Well someone stole my photo and entered it into a Bigfoot competition! and it came runner up!!Link

Supersleuth Loren Coleman tracked me down - i laughed so hard I spat out my tea!

Anyway the winner?

Bigfoot with the ipod of course!

So adopt your 'mini bigfoot' now!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

call for television ideas!

hey everyone, you never know who's out there, so i'm doing a shout out to see if anyone has any television contacts.

Lola is releasing a group of bonobos this summer, and they are trying to find a production company to film it - does anyone have any ideas?

National Geographic said no already....

Saturday, January 3, 2009

kata to the rescue!

after all the fun i make about Kata being a selfish little drama queen, she goes and ruins everything with this rare act of heroism...

it was an ordinary day in the nursery -

eleke was in trouble with mama esperance - he stole her shoe and was running all over the nursery with it, so mama esperance was yelling at him to give it back... when out of nowhere, kata steps, no, LEAPS between mama esperance and eleke and shields him with her body.

Mama Esperance couldn't help it, she burst out laughing. kata and eleke siezed their moment - eleke dropped the shoe and they both went and hid in the bushes.

look at that wrinkled consternation on kata's face (she's the one on the left)!

what a hero!