top of page
  • Writer's pictureFriends of Bonobos

Via Mongabay: How the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted great ape conservation

Back in March of 2020, when the world truly appeared to be coming apart at the seams, Lola ya Bonobo closed our doors to tourists and went into full lockdown to protect the sanctuary bonobos.

For months on end, nearly two dozen devoted staff members lived with the bonobos full time, never going home to see their families. The only individuals that went in or out of the sanctuary during lockdown were veterinarians, bringing incoming orphan bonobos .

A group of staff members at Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary holding up their hands to make heart symbols.
Our devoted staff members wave hello from inside the sanctuary quarantine in June of 2020

Risk of humans spreading infections to bonobos

We took this precautionary measure because it was widely believed by primatologists - based on experience with other viruses - that bonobos and other great apes are susceptible to the COVID-19 virus as well. We wanted to avoid that outcome at all costs! A COVID-19 infection among the sanctuary bonobos might have had disastrous implications for the already endangered species.