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.
Lola ya Bonobo means ‘paradise for bonobos’ in Lingala, the main language of Kinshasa In 2007, Lola ya Bonobo is home to 52 bonobos who live in 30 hectares of primary forest. Friends of Bonobos are the generous people of the United States who support “Lola Ya Bonobo” sanctuary.
Why do we need sanctuaries?
It is illegal to sell bonobos. Without a sanctuary, there would be no way to enforce this law. There is currently a trade in bonobos who are sold as pets in Europe, USA, and the Middle East. Mothers and whole communities are killed for bush meat and a bonobo infant can sell for US$60,000 on the black market.
When bonobos are confiscated by the police, there must be somewhere to put them otherwise the bonobos will be killed or kept in cages. With a sanctuary, not only is there a safe, rich environment where the rescued orphans can live a normal life, but some of these orphans may eventually be reintroduced into the wild.
Sanctuaries can educate the local population; the main consumers of bush meat. If sanctuaries can win over the local population to appreciate bonobos for the rare and wonderful animals they are, perhaps the demand for bush meat will decrease. There are very few education programs about environmental protection in Congo. Lola ya Bonobo is right next to the capital city of Kinshasa and has a tremendous impact on education.