Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lola Bonobo

We went to a sanctuary for Bonobos. -Which are animals similar to chimpanzees. I really wasn’t keen to go; the concept of animals in captivity makes me uncomfortable, to say the least. But it turned out to be, the most beautiful place. It really felt like paradise, like suddenly the Garden of Eden wasn’t something I just imagined as a child at story time.

The insane humidity (which yes, I continue to complain about) of course is a major contributor towards the lush green expanse. The experience overall, though, was one of admiration for the people who run it. They have become the animals' family. It's a beautiful thing to witness.

The Bonobos are rescued from a life of risk, where the mothers are shot and the babies are captured to be sold to international buyers. They are, something like our closest relatives, and actually so different to chimps that it is surprising that it was only noted mid 1920s. Often the mothers are killed before the four-year nursing period is up, and the babies are left young and weak, taken to markets. The organisation is well-known enough that some children saw a baby for sale at a market recently, and contacted them, and now he is safe in the enclosure, being looked after by these ladies who spend their days with the baby Bonobos, being their moms. It is the most incredible thing to witness how clearly they have accepted these women as their own, holding on tight to their backs as they go about normal chores, playing games and trusting them completely.

The guides know all the Bonobos by name, and speak of each one's personality. They point out which one loves speed, and minutes later, he races down a hill sliding on a tree branch, in typical teenage behaviour. They even call them by name, out of miles of bushes and wilderness, and the Bonobos respond loudly and come. They do seem very organised, and it truly feels like the guides and everyone at the sanctuary cares for each individual Bonobo and their wellbeing. It really is, a symbol of hope for us all. 

Seriously, I took like four photos of Bonobos, and 156 of trees.
#TrueLove #BorderlineObsession #SoooGreen

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