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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

anxiously awaiting...

Florent, the videographer, the amazing Nick de Souza (regional director for WSPA), and our vet, Marie Laure arrive with their precious cargo...

... and here are the Po, the bonobo guardians, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the bonobos!

the cheif himself is here, in his leopard skin had with leopard teeth necklace ( a very old heirloom, we are told)

More from our vet, ML from june 14

Up at 2:30am! the anasthaestia started well, the medicine mixed with a big of honey and the bonobos fell asleep one by one. The last blood tests, and the last photos. when the bonobos were ready, they were put in their cages for the truck of the airline.

We had a little trouble getting Etumbe to sleep - she is pregnant and we had to be super careful - so we couldn't give her to much anasthesia - we had to trick her into her cage!

7am, ready just in time for the trucks to take us to the airport.

thanks to the ministry, the bonobos arrived like royalty on the airport tarmac. the cages were loaded onto the plane, but Lomami, our rock star, didn't want people he didn't know approaching him - the keepers had to calm him down and carry his cage themselves!

Once all the cages were on the plane, we loaded all the equipment. the cages were roped to the plane to stabilise them and we hunkered down among the bags, the equipment and the bonobos.

during the flight, all the bonobos seemed to settle down well. Lomela played in the cage with Mbano, under the watchful eye of her mother, Etumbe. Max, our handsome male calmed down Lomami. Only Lukaya was restless and needed another injection.

After the 2 hour flight, we arrived at Basankusu. The door of the plane opened to the Equateur heat. The whole village had come to the airport to see! We had to hide the sight of all the people from the bonobos - we didn't want to freak them out!

Everything went quickly. It was very hot and we gave water to all the bonobos.

Accompanied by the entire village who turned up to see this historic day, we arrived at the ABC house. there were so many people, the local police had to rope it all off!

Sugar cane and water all round. the bonobos started to wake up - Max looked at the river, very interested...