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A.A.C association 
" The Friends of Animal in Congo"
is a non-profit organization
whose principal goal is to protect an endemic species 

photo de Karl Amman

The main goal since the creation of the association 
and its main worry is to twins 
the protection of the orphans bonobos confiscated 
and the protection of the wild bonobos 
still living in the Equateur, Bandundu and Kasai provinces.

 To make it possible, the association strongly believe in a long term protection work which can be given only through :

Protection starts with Education !

Always remember that the bullets and the bush meat demands come from the cities ... educate the city population and the traffic will stop by itself.
The Association is in a perpetual movement. 

Its main structures are actually working.  

But the future is already here ... the bonobos are growing a little every day and the association has to follow.

 

Our project is in three phases :
  • The Nursery Sanctuary      (today)
  • The Adult Sanctuary            (short term)
  • The Natural Reserve            (its coming) 

The Sanctuary Nursery provide a home and comfort to 20 bonobos 

Education programs are settle since few years now.
Guided tour are proposed to visitors
And all this free of charge.

The work of the association  :

  • Ensure the confiscation with the Environment Ministry of the bonobos sale on the markets of Kinshasa to discouraged the bush meat trader and to stop the offer.

  • Ensures a permanent medical and psychological attention to confiscated bonobos

  • Provides a space adapted to the amount of physical exercise required for their readaptation

  • Provides them with a diet appropriate to their development needs.

  • lobbying with the authorities, forest companies .... for a common work on the protection of the bonobos

  • ... and a lot more

 

The second phase of the project currently under preparation, is the creation of an Adult Sanctuary - Le Grand Sanctuaire - where grown-up bonobos can live in semi-liberty while allowing for continued educational activities and ethological observation.

The ideal would be to identify a site large enough to regroup both the Adult Sanctuary and the Nursery on the same location, but the priority at this stage is to build the Adult Sanctuary since TASOK has kindly offered to continue housing the Nursery.

Suspended when the war started in August 1998, plans for the creation of an Adult Sanctuary in the immediate vicinity of Kinshasa were resumed several months ago, in order to transfer the AAC's juvenile bonobos there without further delay.

The current Nursery does not have the capacity to respond anymore to the needs of the older bonobos who really need a new forest.

futur sanctuaire nursery Under current conditions, it is key that the site of the Adult Sanctuary be in town or in the immediate vicinity of Kinshasa, in order to ensure its accessibility for educational programs and visitors, including researchers, as well as to guarantee the bonobos' own security.

Mont Ngaliema map

The location initially anticipated for the Adult Sanctuary, within the 200 hectares of the Park of Mount Ngaliema, was largely deforested over the past two years and most alternative locations identified around Kinshasa are in the process of being so.

One of the most promising options would be 
to obtain a piece of forest at 
the tourist site of
Lac "Ma Vallee"

This greenery oasis at 30 minutes from the town center
would be a real peace haven for the bonobos.


Ma Vallee offers :

  • a luxuriant forest, 

  • large space giving large liberty to the orphans

  • an observation site out of the ordinary.

Negotiations are under way

And if this project is finalized a new adventure will start ... to find the financing  for the construction of the Sanctuary.

We will need  :

  • an specialize electric fence
  • water and electricity
  • constructions (in traditional style) for the dietetic, the night cages, the infirmary, the offices ...
  • two team staff
  • installations for the educative program
  • transports (bus for the children and also for the resupplying)
  • and a lot of other things ...

 

Des third phase of the project, once peace has returned, could be the reinsertion of the bonobos in situ through the creation of a natural reserve within their natural habitat. Similar experiments for the reinsertion of the Aye-Aye (debentonia Madagascariensis) were successfully carried out in Madagascar.

A possible site was identified for this final stage of the project at Kikongo in Bandundu Province. The proximity of the site from Kinshasa (3 to 5 hours by road or 1/2 hour by small plane) existing infrastructures (hotel and touristic river location), and initial interest expressed by the local traditional chiefs - and the Baptist mission - should enable this natural reserve to continue its educational vocation through eco-tourism while facilitating ethological observations of bonobos in a natural environment and complete freedom.

This site is bordered by the Wambo River and one of its tributaries, thereby providing a naturally protected site.

The Baptist mission has already initiated preliminary educational activities (projections of movies on bonobos) in surrounding villages.

The Adult Sanctuary (in a short term) and Natural Reserve phases of the AAC's "LOLA YA BONOBO - Bonobo Sanctuary in Congo " project will be particularly important for the well-being of the juvenile and adult bonobos, as well as for all ethological observations and the still wild bonobos of Congo.

LOBBYING
FOR IN-SITU PROTECTION

The Association plays a significant role in lobbying the DRC authorities at all levels, as well as the national an international mass media, on the crucial importance of preserving the primary forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the only natural habitat of the Bonobo. These complementary advocacy efforts focus on bonobo protection in their natural environment.

The association works closely with internationnally reknown experts such as Karl Ammann and Jef Dupain, to ensure proper forest management by local logging companies and to denounce the "bush meat" trade often practiced by their employee.

Thanks to this action, logging companies such as Danzer/Siforco have committed to fighting this traffic, organized through their own installations, in order to discourage bush meat trade among the population of the primary forest's buffer zones.

Another target of advocacy efforts has been the DRC government itself, in order to convince it of the importance of conservation efforts for the future of Congo.

These efforts have been renewed since war reached the bonobo natural range. A workshop on

The consequences of the war
on endemic species in Congo - example of the Bonobo

was organized by the AAC in June 2000, with the participation of representatives from

  • the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture,
  • the Armed Forces
  • the private sector
  • and NGOs

This workshop has led to
the creation of a local intersectoral group
for Bonobo Protection.