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News Features
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Extended Online Version

Shepherd readers are well acquainted with the Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative, launched 10 years ago by the Milwaukee Zoological Society to study and help protect the elusive, endangered bonobo (human DNA is 98.4% identical to that of bonobos). The project’s leader, Dr. Gay Reinartz, is currently in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to deliver supplies and collect more data on the great ape. Reinartz reports that they are seeing many bonobos at Etate, the project’s research park. But, as this dispatch shows, she and her crew are also finding disturbing evidence of elephant poaching.
News Features
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Milwaukee Zoological Society

Today we walk in the footsteps of elephants, their tracks deep, flat depressions in the leaf litter of the forest floor. With room to spare, I can place both my feet in their circular form. Bunda tells us that elephants passed here yesterday after the rain. The elephants are headed toward the Yenge River...
News Features
Monday, Dec. 31, 2007

Milwaukee Zoological Society

Nov. 26-29: Days begin to blur. Our progress is slowed by daily torrential downpours. We walk from sunup to sundown. We plan our routes and campsites according to where we are most likely to find water at the end of the day. Despite the rains, finding potable water is difficult, since the springs we seek may be bordered by a kilometer of swampland. I’m never too keen on sleeping in swamps, but occasionally we have to. If we stop too early in the day to make camp, the honeybee scouts find us. They relay their discovery to their hive, and by next morning they inundate us with legions of their kind that crawl over and into our backpacks, our clothing and food. …
News Features
Monday, Dec. 31, 2007

Milwaukee Zoological Society

Nov. 24: Today we leave for Ika, a remote patrol post on the Salonga River about six hours from Etate, our main research station. Our objective is to continue to survey bonobos upriver from Etate in the strip of land bordered by the Yenge and Salonga rivers. We want to know whether the bonobo population continues or whether it ends at some point, limited by either habitat changes or poaching. Based on previous excursions, we know that as we move further away from Etate, poaching increases while the forest remains the same. At the same time, bonobos are present, but they are less densely populated.

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