Update on the Ekolo trackers

January 31, 2012

Dear friends,


The good news we had been hoping for is now confirmed: David Mokamoa and Victor Likofata, the two trackers most severely wounded in the accident that occurred at EKOLO YA BONOBO last August, will soon be receiving reconstructive facial surgery from renown French surgeon Professor Lantieri in Paris. David and Victor will have to undergo five rounds of surgery over a 6 to 7 month period. The first round is scheduled in early February; Claudine will travel to Paris with the trackers in a few days.

We would like to sincerely thank all of you who have generously responded to the crisis with offers of support and sympathy over the past six months.  In France, preparations for receiving the trackers are in full swing: coordination with the hospital, with the specialized guest house where the men will stay in between operations, collection of warm clothes for the winter, donations of air-miles to secure free airfares, general mobilization to keep the trackers company during these long months, and much more.


As a reminder: on August 3rd, 2011, three of the trackers were bitten by the bonobos at the release site, EKOLO YA BONOBO, resulting in serious injuries.  The wounded men were immediately flown to Kinshasa, where they were hospitalized at the Medical Center of Kinshasa.  Jim Bofey left the clinic in early September; after a few months recovering at LOLA YA BONOBO, he has returned home.  Victor and David were more severely wounded: they lost the best part of their nose and several phalanges of various fingers; Victor also lost an ear.

At EKOLO YA BONOBO, the released bonobos are doing fine.  Food provisioning has been resumed so that the bonobos can be observed daily without having to track them in the forest.  After a two month suspension due to the presidential elections, consultations with relevant stakeholders from the Ministry of Environment and other environmental actors in the Maringa-Lopori-Wamba Landscape resumed this January to decide on the next steps in the release process.

6 thoughts on “Update on the Ekolo trackers

  • Marcia Douthwaite

    This IS good news—-thank you for the update on the trackers, they have been in my thoughts. Also, good to hear that the released bonobos are doing well also—they must be kept safe. Thank you for all your efforts.

  • Hall

    Can you direct to reports of the original incident? This is the first I’ve heard of it. Why did this happen?

  • gorilla gal

    Sounds very much like chimps when they attack humans (and each other) Perhaps bonobos are not so peaceful after all. I’m sure I read somewhere Claudine saying she didn’t let men in with the bonobos in the sanctuary enclosures as they would get attacked…wonder what would have happened had female human trackers been available?

    • admin Post author

      Bonobos are more peaceful than chimps, but what must not be forgotten is that they remain wild animals, and very strong ones at that! Therefore their behaviour remains unpredictable. Indeed at Lola ya Bonobo the keeper do not enter the adult enclosures. It is their space. This is why the training enclosure was put in place, here several keepers enter the enclosure in preparation for the reintroduction where the bonobos where to be followed by the trackers in the forest at Ekolo ya Bonobo. There are some women among the trackers at Ekolo ya Bonobo, they were not in the forest that day.

  • connieleisey

    I am so sorry to hear of this encounter,not good for the Bonobos or our friends!!!!! Thank GOD they are mending. I will keep them in my prayers as long as necessary…… pLEASE LET THEM KNOW THEY ARE LOVED AND MY PRAYERS ARE FOR THEM!!!!! Keepm us informed I love you all and pray for you——-all……..Connie

  • Hall

    I’ve read all the entries from August 2011, and I find nothing about this… can you please give us links to the original reports? Also, why is my previous comment still in moderation? I’m not trying to cause trouble, just catch up to the current report that “remind”s us of what happen on August 3, 2011. Thanks!

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