Bola arrived at Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary on May 10, 2023, from the Sankuru Province near Kole.
A Community Effort
Sadly, like many other orphaned bonobos, Bola had been held as a pet. Harming, selling, or keeping a bonobo is illegal, but not everyone knows this.
Blaise Mbuaki, Director of Education for Friends of Bonobos of Congo, helps to educate communities about bonobos, including the threats they face and the importance of conservation. He was doing just that in April 2023 when someone came forward after a community meeting to share their concern about an orphaned bonobo kept as a pet. The keeper said they were unaware that bonobos are protected. Authorities confiscated the young bonobo, and Bola’s journey to healing and happiness began.
Bonobos suffer tremendously when people keep them as pets, isolated from other bonobos. Those who survive grow up into very strong adults, with the potential to be dangerous to humans. Thankfully, Bola was rescued from such a fate and will now have the opportunity to grow up around other bonobos with a chance to return to the wild.
A Stressful Journey
When our team first encountered Bola, she was very stressed and experiencing severe diarrhea. It took time and patience to transition her into the car at the airport because of how frightened she was. Prepared as always, Dr. Jonas came with sugar cane to calm Bola down for the journey home to Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary.
A Speedy Recovery!
Within a few months, Bola was blossoming. She adapted to her new environment at Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary under the care of her surrogate mother, Mama Ruth.
Mama Ruth’s unconditional love and daily care have aided Bola’s growing confidence. Today, Bola is a playful young bonobo who stays close to her mama. We are grateful to have sweet Bola in our care at Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary and love watching her daily interactions and playful spirit.