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Meet Balangala




Arrival Date:

Age at Arrival:

Surrogate Mama:

Fun Facts:


Village of Balangala

November 2017

1 Year Old

Mama C’arrive


Balangala is feisty, independent and loves attention.

King Balangala

Meet Balangala! This rambunctious boy ruled the nursery at Lola, and he’s always finding some way to get into mischief. His playful energy is contagious, and he’s always the first to start a fun game with younger bonobos. Balangala has come a long way since 2017!

Balangala sitting. Photo by Leon Haberkorn, 2019.JPG
Balangala sitting. Photo by Leon Haberkorn, 2019..JPG
The Journey

Like all the orphans at Lola ya Bonobo, Balangala is named for the place where he was rescued. 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. 


A New Home

​We were all so grateful to see him finally arrive safely, and our veterinarians were encouraged to see 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. They are desperately lonesome and litsless from an extended period of being without their mom. Balangala was in desperate need of maternal care, so we prescribed him one of our most experienced surrogate mothers, C’arrive.

Copy of IMG_9855Yvonne.Balangala_edited.
Timid at First

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 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.

A New Side Emerges

Today, Balangala is no longer the timid and shy little guy he was at the beginning. He is wildly independent, with a feisty energy that always makes us laugh. The mamas of the nursery described 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 enjoyed being on top of the social hierarchy, but after leaving the nursery to join adult bonobos in a forest enclosure, he is surely learning who’s really in charge. 

We hope someday 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 started an education program in the village he was rescued from. Thank you for helping us save Balangala! You are the reason for his success. 

At Lola ya Bonobo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), we have a team of caregivers for rescued bonobosMeet our other Bonobos Omandja, Balangala, Diyoko, Tshimbulu, Lutula, Semendwa, Lolabu, Loto, Ikela, Maya, Bola, Owila, Ikoto, Lenda, Lombo.

To join our mission to save lives and Rain forest please Donate here.

Find out more about Balangala on our social media!

C'arrive and Balangala smiling. This post updates everyone on Balangala's progress. He arrived on the 4th of November, 2017. He is still in quarantine with his substitute mom, S'arrive, but soon he will join the nursery where he can make friends with 3 other orphan baby bonobos.
Mama S'arrive and Balangala. The first introduction of him, he was rescue in a village, and is nowin quarantine with is new surrogate mother S’arrive.
Balangala sitting. He has now graduated and has joined the bonobos in group 1
More Balangala social posts
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