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Monday, June 22, 2009

update from Nick D'Souza

Nick is one of Lola's most beloved vets. He has been there almost since the beginning, and currently heads up WSPA Africa. Here is his latest post (thanks Sheryl!)

We're all amazed as we continue to follow the journey of nine lucky bonobos who have now been released back into the wild.

WSPA’s Nick D’Souza is the lead vet on the release, and he’s been sending updates. Here's the latest...

"It's been a weird and wonderful trip over the last few days. Although we've had our moments of stress and drama, in the end the translocation went very well, especially for the bonobos. They did go through the normal expected stress, but nothing very major. We took the pirogues up the river to the holding pen, and let them out of the cage one at a time so that they would have a chance to look around and settle in bit by bit.

Although the alpha male Max demonstrated some typical... alpha max behaviour (!) he was soon put in his place by the REAL boss, Itumbe. She has been extremely calm throughout the whole translocation procedure and once again, led the group to settle in well.

Moving in

A baby bonobo at the Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary.

The bonobos all seemed to thrill to the freedom of being back in the forest. The little ones - much like human children flinging themselves out of school at the end of the day - were visibly excited to be back in the forest after the long journey. They ran around excitedly, climbing up the trees, jumping up and down in the high branches, pulling off handfuls of leaves and hurling them down in sheer glee!

One of the younger females, Lisala, was the most adventurous of the group and managed to jump out of the holding pen and into the forest.

She spent a nice long time walking around, exploring the forest, where she was joined by Claudine who just wanted to make sure Lisala was ok by herself. They held hands and walked around for a long while, by which time Lukaya - another young female - had clambered up a palm tree in the holding pen, and managed to catapult herself out into the open forest too!

Thankfully, though, both of them returned to the holding pen, apparently satisfied with what their new surroundings were like. They are all scheduled to have further medical tests today (Wednesday) to check that none of them are carrying tuberculosis (TB).

So far, it looks as though it's all going exactly as per plan, and we will certainly keep monitoring these pioneers over the next few weeks to make sure they adapt to their new home as comfortably as possible."