Meet Balangala




Arrival Date:

Age at Arrival:

Surrogate Mama:

Fun Facts:


Village of Balangala

November 2017

1 Years Old

Mama S’arrive


Balangala is feisty, independent and loves attention.

King Balangala

Meet Balangala! This five-year-old boy is the reigning King of the Nursery at Lola, and he’s always finding some way to get into mischief. His rambunctious and playful energy is contagious, and he’s always the first to start a fun game with the littler bonobos. As our oldest orphan currently in the nursery, Balangala has come a long way since 2017!

The Journey

Like all our orphans, Balangala is named for the place he was rescued from. The village of Balangala is approximately 140 km from our wildlife preserve, Ekolo ya Bonobo. When ABC staff first located him, he was dehydrated and had painful wounds on his sides from being bound by tight ropes. He was cared for by a member of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation until he was well enough to travel to us, first by boat, then by cargo plane, and finally by car to the sanctuary. 


We were all so grateful to see him finally arrive safely, and our vet, Raphael, was encouraged to see that he was in relatively good health. He had a minor skin infection, but what he needed most was love and affection. Most of the orphan bonobos who make it to Lola are scarred from the trauma of losing their families to the bushmeat trade and desperately lonesome and lethargic from an extended period of being without their mom. Balangala was in desperate need of maternal care, so we prescribed him one of our best surrogate mothers, S’arrive. 


Balangala was very timid at first, and took a long time to warm up to his new surroundings. Following his arrival, he spent seven weeks in quarantine with his new adopted mother, giving them time to forge a strong bond. After he was cleared by Raphael and our veterinary team, Balangala got to make his first bonobo friend since being separated from his family long ago. He got along well with Kwango, our second youngest baby bonobo at the time, and everyone decided it was time for his integration into the nursery group.

Early Days


On Balangala’s first day in the nursery, he was welcomed with open arms by Bikoro, one of the older nursery bonobos who had also been raised by Mama S’arrive. Balangala quickly warmed up to his adopted brother, and we were all thrilled to hear him laugh for the first time while he was playing with Bikoro and all his other new buddies.

A Playful Spirit Was Born


Today, Balangala is no longer the timid and shy little guy we met three years ago. He is wildly independent, and leads the nursery group with a feisty energy that always makes us laugh. The mamas of the nursery describe him as having a huge heart and a playful spirit. He loves spending time with all of the mamas and the younger bonobos, as well as exploring the nearby forest. In the nursery, he enjoys being on top of the social food chain, but it will soon be time for Balangala to leave the little kid playground and join Bikoro and Kwango in the larger forest enclosure, where the rest of the adults will surely show him who’s really in charge. 


Someday, we are hopeful that Balangala will be able to be released back into the wild and roam free in our protected nature preserve. He has recovered very well during his time with us, and we can’t wait to see him one day reunited with the depths of the Congo rainforest, happy and healthy once again - all made possible by your support! Because of his remarkable story, we have started an education program in the village he was rescued from. With the support of the locals, we continue to be vigilant of needy baby bonobos in that area. 


Thank you for helping us save Balangala! You are the reason for his success. 

Balangala sitting. Photo by Leon Haberkorn, 2019.JPG
Balangala sitting. Photo by Leon Haberkorn, 2019..JPG
Balangala sitting. Photo by Leon Haberkorn, 2019.-2.JPG
C'arrive and Balangala smiling. 2018..jpg
Balangala sitting, eating. Photo by Leon Haberkorn, 2019..JPG
Copy of IMG_9855Yvonne.Balangala.Bikoro.JPG

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