A male bonobo at Lola yo Bonobo sanctuary. Only about 20,000 wild bonobos are left, and they are found only in the central rainforests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo Credit: Ley Uwera for NPR

Animals Congo10. April 2021

Children Help Save Bonobos from Extinction – Here’s How

An animal sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo opens its doors on a daily basis to delegations of schoolchildren, so that younger generations can learn about bonobos, and get involved in the protection of the gentle, endangered apes.

“Everything is connected on the planet,” says Claudine André, who founded the animal sanctuary Lola ya Bonobo in 1994. “So the kids have to understand that it’s not only the bonobo [at risk]. All the biodiversity is in danger.”

There are only some 20,000 wild bonobos in the wild. Our closest cousins – bonobos share nearly 99% of their DNA with humans – are only found in Congo’s central rainforest. So far 10,000 children have visited Lola ya Bonobo’s spacious and forested enclosures where bonobos are rehabilitated to eventually be released back into nature. A second sanctuary called Ekolo ya Bonobo has also opened its doors hundreds of miles away where a dozen of bonobos are gradually getting back on their feet and soon into the wild.


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