Lola ya BonoboKinshasa , Kinshasa
Democratic Republic of Congo
Founded by Claudine Andre in 1994, Lola ya Bonobo is the sanctuary of the NGO, Les Amis des Bonobos du Congo (ABC). Since 2002, the sanctuary has been located at Les Petites Chutes de la Lukaya, just outside of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (link to ARC map). Lola ya Bonobo means ‘paradise for bonobos’ in Lingala, the main language of Kinshasa.
Population Description• 63 bonobos (link to .doc “Lola ya Bonobos 2012”)
• 30 females and 33 males
• Ranging in age from 0-23 years of age with 22 individuals 6 years or younger
• Each of 4 groups (1 nursery and 3 mix age-sex groups) contain between 10-23 individuals
Research DescriptionCognitive, behavioral, physiological, genetic, morphological and health research has all been conducted at Lola ya Bonobo since 2005. This has resulted in 30 publications between the years 2007-2012 (link to publications below).
Behavioral observations are possible by watching the bonobos from outside of their forest enclosures. Published research has included studies of vocal and gestural communication, tool use, and social interactions (e.g. dominance, mother-infant relations, etc).
Cognitive research is possible by asking bonobos to volunteer to play problem solving games for supplementary food before leaving to their forest enclosure each morning. Published research has included studies of memory, economic decision making, cooperation and sharing, theory of mind, inhibitory control and temperament. The large number of infant bonobos has allowed for the first developmental comparisons to chimpanzees and humans.
Physiological research has included measurement of both cortisol and testosterone that has been obtained by sampling both saliva and urine non-invasively. Published research has allowed for the first comparison of reactivity of steroid hormones in bonobos and chimpanzees.
Genetic, morphological and health research are possible during routine veterinary health checks conducted in the interest of each individual bonobo. Routine health checks require blood draws. During these blood draws additional blood can be drawn for genetic and health research. While bonobos are anaesthetized for their health checks morphological research can be conducted. Published research includes studies on novel pathogens, disease evolution, bonobo origins and genetic diversity as well as morphological comparisons with chimpanzees.
Research PolicyLola ya Bonobo’s mission is to assure the conservation and welfare of bonobos. Researchers can play an important role in helping Lola ya Bonobo meet both its conservation and welfare goals. People protect what they respect and people respect what they understand. Researchers can help us understand more about the hidden details of bonobo life and this understanding can then be used to capture the imagination of all ages. When people learn fascinating facts about bonobo life that careful research uncovers, people want to protect bonobos.
Lola ya Bonobo welcomes researchers since their findings provide another powerful tool for educators to use in order to capture the minds and hearts of the future friends of bonobos. However, given the number of demands for research at Lola ya Bonobo, there is an application procedure to ensure that research is productive but at the same time as non-intrusive to the Sanctuary’s work as possible:
All researchers must submit an application to conduct research at Lola ya Bonobo. The application procedure allows us to coordinate the timing of different research projects while functioning as our main mechanism for quality control. We have many requests from students and researchers and we use the application procedure to ensure that researchers who visit have a chance to accomplish their own research goals and that these goals complement and do not conflict with those of the Sanctuary and other researchers.
All research is non-invasive and all researchers must agree to the research policies of Lola ya Bonobo (link to .doc “Lola ya Bonobo research policies”). In some cases CITES export permits can be obtained for the export of samples if the proposed research has clear benefits to the sanctuary population or bonobos more generally. The sanctuary maintains a research permit for all non-invasive research from the Ministry of Research so that individual researchers do not need to obtain a permit from the Democratic Republic of Congo. All researchers must obtain research permits from their home institutions (e.g. IUCUC approval) or countries if required in the researcher’s home country.
If you are interested in research at Lola ya Bonobo, please fill in the application form and send it to the Research Coordinator (however, all students must first have their research advisors contact the research coordinator on their behalf).
Dr. Brian Hare : firstname.lastname@example.org
(Link to .doc “Lola ya Bonobo research app”).
2011 | Blood groups in the species survival plan, European endangered species program and managed in situ populations of bonobo (Pan panicus), common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), gorilla (Gorilla ssp), and orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus ssp). Zoo Biology.