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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, February 26, 2010

Bigfoot has hair

Not sure if you remember the furore of the bigfoot photo
where someone actually took my photos and entered it into a bigfoot competition! but now the original bigfoot, Bandundu, has finally grown some hair. Which is lucky b/c now her baby has something to hold onto!
photo: David Reid

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

smelling the lilies?

I always love photos of the photos with the lilies - they look so romantic - liek htey're just inhaling their faint heady scent. But actually it's the scene before they chomp them up - which doesn't look so romantic - petals shredded everywhere. I've heard of bonobos foraging for pith (the bit inside the lily stem)- that ties into Richard Wrangham's theory of the aquatic ape. And bonobos do hae a bit of webbing between their 2nd and 3rd toe.

But I haven't heard of them eating flowers before...

photo: David Reid

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bisengo the little prince

This is little Bisengo, who I have known since he was born. He is the perfect example of an alpha bonobo. So we usually say that the females are in charge of bonobo groups, but actually it the babies - especially a little prince like Bisengo who can get anything he wants! If there is a grape within even 10 feet of Bisengo, it's his, no matter who else is around!

Bisengo is quite a little climber - maybe a prime candidate for the release project?

Friday, February 19, 2010

David Reid

I have some photos I've been meaning to post from David Reid who went to Lola a few months ago. I've post them all over the next few weeks!

This is Makali, a bonobo rescued from a biomedical centre. He has somethign to say!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Noki and baby...

Noki and her baby are in wonderful health! they've been released into the enclosures. Noki is nursing her baby well and protecting her from slapping branches and the sun. but she is also very proud and loves to show the baby to the other bonobos!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Noki & Val

ooo - i got this photo from Val when Noki just arrived at Lola. Val is a volunteer at Lola - and has been for 15 years. She works practically full time handling Lola's accounts - the sanctuary wouldn't run without her. She comes in to Lola almost every day, for no recognition or reward other than helping the bonobos. We love you Val! and look at little Noki and those huge black eyes.

and then here is Val helping Noki give birth - 10 years later!

we share so much with these bonobos, they become so much a part of our lives. Val has been sending photos like crazy - she is a very proud grandmother.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Noki's baby

Ok back to Lola now and I'm a little behind on all the news - but Noki had a baby!!

Noki is one of the cat burglers at Lola - she is also a prolific tool user - which bonobos haven't been seen to do in the wild, fyi. once she used a long stick to steal my camera bag.

noki is also one of the smartest bonobos in all the experiments we do - she is so wildly interested in all the tests and sometimes we have trouble getting her out of the testing room!

now she has a baby!!

Fanny the vet was there for the whole thing, and so was Valerie, who was there when Noki was first rescued...

ooo, there are just baby bonobos everywhere, they make me so clucky!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lola's bonobos in the news!!

It's a great week for bonobos in the news this week and these very bonobos were from Lola!! This is the work Tory (Victoria) was doing in Lola in 2007 with the drool...

i like this one better than the cannibalism story...

Peter Pan ways make bonobos the most amiable of apes

Bonobos are the Peter Pans of the jungle. The amiable apes hold onto their youthful ways far longer into adulthood than chimpanzees, while some childish traits never vanish, a new study shows.

This difference may explain why bonobos are less aggressive and more social than chimps, says Victoria Wobber, a primatologist at Harvard University...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

one more...

ok, just one more pic of Lukaya being a good mom!! when bonobos spend too much time with humans, they tend to reject their young. we had that problem with Mimi, who lived with a human family for 15 years, and rejected every one of her babies.

we're not sure how much time Lukaya spent with humans before she made it to Lola, but it can't have been too long because she is a wonderful mother! Of course, she does have Etumbe to look up to!

Look at Lukaya shielding her baby from the sun! I can't help but feel proud of her...

Bonobo cannibalism?

Hey everyone, check this out:

Wild bonobo mother ape eats own infant in DR Congo
By Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News

A wild bonobo has been seen cannibalising her own recently deceased two and a half-year-old infant

this result is amazing.

nothing like this has been ever been seen like this before, that I know of, but Gottfried's work is excellent, so this is super exciting. just last year they saw meat eating in bonobos, which had also never been seen before.

i wonder if the infant was killed by a high ranking male.

we've never seen anything like this in the sanctuary. the last time I saw an infant die, the mother held onto it for days and the keepers had trouble taking the body away.

results like gottfried's illustrate the complexity of bonobo social behavior and the necessity of further research on thee amazing creatures.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Nsomi & Motema

Nsomi, the first born at the release site, is quite fascinated with Motema - the latest addition to the release group.(I just love Nsomi's little face btw... i just want to pinch those cheeks!!)

Nsomi is always touching Motema, softly patting her head or gently stroking her face.

Hopefully the two will become fast friends and look out for each other in the wild forests of Congo.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lola's bonobos in the news!!

This just came out in New Scientist. Not only was the work done by our research group, but it was also done at Lola!

Don't forget to watch the totally cute video of Eleke and Sake! and the bonobo in the photo is Semendwa!

Sharing apes: what bonobos have in common with us

If you were drawing up a guest list for an animal dinner party, sex-mad bonobos might not be your first choice, especially as they have recently been shown to cannibalise their own offspring.

But at least they will share food with strangers.

Till now it was thought that humans were the only primates to share food in this way. Chimps, for example, won't do it. But Brian Hare of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and Suzy Kwetuenda of the Lola Ya Bonobo refuge for orphaned bonobos in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have now shows that bonobos will also "freely" share.

Read the rest of the article here:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

little Motema

Just wanted to take a moment to celebrate that the bonobos at the release site are going so well!! 2 babies!! it's absolutely wonderful.

Both the ladies Etumbe and Lukaya were pregnant before they went to the release site and the fact that they gave birth so effortlessly just goes to show how well they are adapting to their new home.

Next step - a real wild baby - conceived and given birth at Ekolo - that is the sign that a release project is REALLY successful - that the bonobos are reproducing.

fingers crossed!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

release site: from Zannah

The village people are being very positive for supporting the project. when i was there, the villagers oragnised their own 'welcome' party for Suzy (who is running the release site at the moment), they all came, drums, dancing and singing, to celebrate the coming of Suzy. They were generous in giving lots of presents, such as sugar cane and chickens, something especially touching when it comes from people with so little