This blog has moved!

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

Monday, August 31, 2009

new bonobo

still not much news on the new bonobos, but Suzy has sent a photo. Apparently this one's mother was shot, and the seller agreed to give up the bonobo. Suzy is feeding him wild and local fruit... More news soon...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Max loves Lomela

There is a little love blossoming in the bonobo forest. Lately Max has been approaching Lomela for a little lunch time nookie. He is a perfect gentleman - very discreet, and prefers their liasons to take place in the trees, with the leaves as a modest screen. He doens't push his luck, so that when he raises his eyebrows at Lomela, she doesn't resist. He outstretches his arms and she holds him gently in the trees.

However today, the lovers get ambushed by Lomami and Lisala, and then Kubulu. With such a large gathering around, Max loses his nerve, and sulks back into the trees.

Don't give up Max! True love will prevail! How can you resist these bedroom eyes?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two new babies

There are two new orphans confiscated by the ministry who will soon be coming to Lola... more soon...

Monday, August 24, 2009

checking in...

Just a quick note to say that Etumbe and her baby are doing well, as is everyone at the release site. Max with the beautiful hair won't let anyone come into the enclosure with the bonobos and has taken it upon himself to be the protector of the group. So our researchers have to watch the bonobos from a boat, and only when the bonobos decide to come onto the beach in plain view...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Photos of Tatango...

I just wanted to share some pictures of Tatango with you all...You'll see he was the most handsome bonobo ever...

kissed by Bandundu

Inspecting his beauty


contemplating life

most handsome...

how do you tell when a bonobo is pregnant?

just got this from connie...

' how can you tell when a Bonobo is pregnant ,at the begining of her pregnancy? Does she act different?'


you can tell bonobos get pregnant just like people - they get a baby bump!

and they start acting kind of lethargic, eating heaps, they miss their period...

when that happens, and the vets start to think, 'hmmm....' they give the bonobos a pregnancy test, just liek the ones we use. actually, the last time I was there I had my own little suspicions, which were unfounded, but I left my remaining tests with them that I think got used for Noki! that's how closely related to us they are - they can use our baby kits!! haha...

just one more bit about the ocelots, then I'll stop...

Humane Society Files FTC Petitions Against Neiman's, Bergdorf's

Humane Society Files FTC Petitions Against Neiman's, Bergdorf's
by Liza Casabona

Posted Thursday August 20, 2009

From WWD Issue 08/20/2009

WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the U.S. petitioned the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to investigate Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman for alleged false advertising and mislabeling of fur.

The petition alleged that Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman advertised and sold Manolo Blahnik boots that were either mislabeled or were made with fur from an endangered species. Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman are divisions of Neiman Marcus Group.

According to the Humane Society petition, Neiman’s and Bergdorf’s sold boots in stores and online that were advertised as being made from “cava fur” and from “natural ocelot fur.” The complaint alleged it is illegal to sell ocelot fur and there is no such thing as cava fur.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists the ocelot as an endangered species, which means it is protected by legislation that, among other things, makes it illegal to sell its fur.

A spokeswoman for Neiman Marcus said she could not comment.

The Humane Society filed similar petitions in 2007 with the FTC against Neiman’s and other stores and vendors for allegedly selling items labeled as faux fur, raccoon or rabbit, which it claimed were actually made of fur from domestic dogs, raccoon dogs and wolves. The FTC investigated the allegations, but found in May that no action was warranted. Neiman’s did offer customers a refund at the time.
George Zaharoff

Thursday, August 20, 2009

ocelot story now on national news...

yay for the ocelots

When Christine wrote to Neiman Marcus about the fur all they said was

> Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 14:10:41 -0500
> Thank you for contacting Neiman Marcus Online.
> We received your email regarding the Fur-Trimmed Boot, item #NMF10_X0CHX.
> Neiman Marcus does not hold a position for or against the wearing of fur. As an established retailer of premium apparel and accessories, it is our responsibility to make available to our customers an extremely broad selection of merchandise, all of which may not appeal to every customer's taste.
> Neiman Marcus does not endorse the wearing of fur, other than simply making it available to those customers who choose to purchase it.
> Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address your concerns. We have also forwarded this issue to the appropriate department. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
> Sincerely,
> Mardi Do
> 1-888-888-4757
> TRACKING NUMBER: A00015111643-00040901716:

But HEAPS of people must have written to them because now they've put up on their site that it's "Vanilla goat leather. Dyed ocelot-print goat fur (Italy) trim. Crescent toe. Lace-up shaft. 4" stacked heel. "Cava" is made in Italy." whereas before they said it was "natural ocelot fur(Italy) trim"

So now people in South America won't think the US is hypocritical and more importantly - no endangered species died to make the boot!

help the ocelots!

I know this a bonobo blog, but I saw this yesterday and was really upset- Neiman Marcus is selling ocelot trimmed boots!

see the website

Ocelots are an endangered species and the exact same principle applies to ocelots as buying and selling bonobos.

Please, everyone, send an email to Neiman Marcus:

TO: Neiman Marcus Customer Service
Via e-mail:

Recently I learned that you are now selling footwear in your stores
and on your Web site made with the fur of ocelots. I'm sure you know
that ocelots are a highly endangered species but still live in areas
stretching from Arizona through Central America and South America. It
is illegal to own, purchase or sell an ocelot -or its skin - in the
United States. Unfortunately, an international trade rages across the
globe, including the sale of live ocelots to unscrupulous breeders and
roadside zoo owners. According to the San Diego Zoo, there may be as
few as 100 ocelots left in the wild in the United States.

Even if ocelots are bred in Italy, such breeding promotes killing an
endangered species for fashion and sends a negative message to people
in countries who are trying to conserve them, i.e., how can you expect
hunters in Central America not to kill and butcher ocelots when they
can point to Neiman Marcus and say "Why should we conserve them, when
you in the U.S. are killing them and using them for fashion?" They
wonder why an animal that is so endangered is showing up on footwear
at a major American retailer.

Please stop buying and selling clothing made from the skins of
endangered animals in your stores. I have a lot of choices before me
when I shop, and I will not choose Neiman Marcus as long as this
practice continues.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In memory of Tata

Oh my god these bonobos - does it ever stop? I've been too upset to write about Tata dying, and everyone who knew him is just devastated. For those of you who never met Tata, he was the most handsome bonobos ever. He was the oldest male, and he never smiled. I can't tell you the hours I spent tryignt o get even a smirk out of him. I tickled him and poked him and played chase all over the sanctuary, and Tata was just too cool to smile.

Sometimes I think he was sad to be a bonobo because he obviously wanted to be in charge. Occassionally he would slap one of the females around, trying to be dominant, but of course the female alliance never let him get the better of him. Despite occasional skirmishes, he loved the girls. He was always busting out of his enclosure, but instead of running around the sanctuary causeing havoc, he would jump into the other enclosures to have sex with the females. And if he had a crush on someone and the keepers moved her for some reason, he would break out of his enclosure and run around until he found her.

He was just so majestic. Regal even.

Claudine says it's like having 60 children. you love them all and when one of them dies it's a terrible loss. So heart hugs to Claudine, she almost never cries, but she shed some tears for her Tatango...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tata has died

From Claudine:

'To my friends, and everyone who knew him, Tatango died on Sunday... It was a hemorrage in his stomach... There was nothing to be done, nothing we coudl have forseen... And so he has left us.

Fanny, our new vet, did everything it was possible to do. Serge Belais and Doctor Kasongo (a human doctor who loves bonobos and helps us from time to time) were there as well to provide advice, since we had never encountered this situation before.And so, 'everything was done, and yet it wasn't enough'.

You know how much I love my Tata... and now there is one more who I will miss.

Enough of these bonobo sorrows...



too sad to talk about it - V.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

hard at work in the jungle

can i spell j-e-a-l-o-u-s? seriously, it's supposed to be hard work, all this going back to the wild. I wish they would make it look a bit harder. I've got this one on my desktop instead of that microsoft palm tree...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nokster is pregnant

Back to Lola for a moment to announce that Noki (aka the Nokster) is pregnant! She is one of our favorite bonobos for the experiments because she's so smart! I bet she will have a child prodigy that will be playing the piano by 4 and composing their own symphonies by 5. Then we can sell tickets at Lola and....

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lomela the master chef

Just had this note from our student Suzy:

'If there's one thing Lomela is serious about - it's food! She was always hungry in the nursery and that trait is proving to be wonderful for forest living. She is EXTREMELY dedicated about foraging for wild fruit. She especially loves the young green shoots that grow by the river.

(lomela with a pile of green shoots in the middle)

She is such a natural at collecting food that the trackers have started calling her 'Food Star'.

Her BFF in the forest at the moment is Lisala, a young female, and they spend a lot of time together. Lomela is determined to be friends with everyone, especially Etumbe, the chief Mama, who rules over the little group.

(lomela, left, and her BFF Lisala, right, engaging in their favorite pasttime)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More from our favorite girl...

Lomela is SO big now - she's almost as big as the other females! Not suprisingly, she's such a positive influence in the forest. What we hoped would happen has happened - the sweetest girl in the nursery is now the sweetest girl in the jungle. She is always calm towards everyone, spends a lot of time grooming everyone, keeps the group together and is quick to hug away any disputes.

I've just done a massive plane ride and I feel like a wrinkled shirt. I would love a Lomela hug.

Here she is grooming Etumbe on bonobo beach with Max and his beautiful hair watching them...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

bonobo beach

Excuse the bonobos if it looks more like a resort than a jungle - our Congolese student Suzy assures us that lots of foraging for food and activity is going on at the release site. Suzy and Duke student Catherine watch the bonobos from a boat so they don't disturb them by following them in the forest - and naturally the bonobos want to come out every now and then to check out what Suzy and Catherine are doing!