Claudine André, bonobo partisan

by | Oct 2, 2013

Claudine André—a Belgian conservationist who in 1994 founded Lola Ya Bonobo, the world’s only sanctuary for orphaned bonobos, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—provides an overview of bonobos…

pucker-up_1868091iWhat they are (great apes with a much lower profile than the others: chimpanzees, gorillas or orangutans), and how they typically live (peaceful, matriarchal and egalitarian—as opposed to chimp culture–they use sex to resolve conflict and maintain harmony). She 130104023447-lola-ya-bonobo-1-horizontal-galleryexplains that, owing to the bush meat trade in the DRC, poachers kill adult bonobos, yielding the bonobo orphans that turn up at Lola Ya Bonobo, which translates to “paradise for bonobo. When these orphans arrive at the sanctuary—which, André notes, currently houses 67 bonobos—a human surrogate mother is assigned to look after each baby, which ordinarily would be with its bonobo mother for 4-5 years.  André describes the delicacy and importance of that relationship, and how, eventually, she and that surrogate and other sanctuary staff carefully consider the possibility of releasing that bonobo into the wild. She also estimates the current bonobo population, observes the importance of ongoing research on bonobos, and emphasizes the value of implementing various educational measures (“conservation begins with education”), and more. (


ALSO: We spoke briefly with Linda Hamilton, executive director of Animal Coalition of Tampa (ACT), about ACT’s 13th annual Stride For Strays, to be held Oct. 20, in the much larger environs of Raymond James Stadium.     (,

COMEDY CORNER: Paula Poundstone’s “12 Cats”  (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”


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