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.