2010, July 6
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Dear All,

What happened some days ago was just amazing, magic and heart breaking at the same time.  I am still dreaming . I still have my head full of bonobo noises, tropical scents and of exceptional moments... I will never forget these precious and last exchanges I had with "Chibo", the Bonobo....

Chibo the bonobo
Chibo the bonobo

Yes, as mentioned previously, it was decided the baby bonobo recently  rescued by J.A.C.K. would be transferred to Lola ya Bonobo, the bonobo sanctuary  in Kinshasa. And I had been chosen to be the last  main 'J.A.C.K.' actor of this story.

By 6 o'clock in the morning on Saturday both "Chibo" and myself were ready to go. Papa Augustin had asked to spend the night close to the little one  as to put him early in the wooden crate before telling him a last goodbye....

Papa Augustin & Chibo
Papa Augustin & Chibo

At Lubumbashi airport, we were lucky. Claudine of Lola and her team had organised transfer thanks to Mr Stavros, manager of Hewa Bora Airways, who we kindly thank for his participation because he accepted to transfer "Chibo" for free.

bonobo "check-in" - transfer sponsored by Hewa Bora Airways
bonobo "check-in" - transfer sponsored by Hewa Bora Airways

Also, thanks to Franck and the Provincial Environment Authorities, all the legal documents had been done in time and I knew there was no reason at all  to be nervous as everything had been perfectly organised. "Chibo" was very calm and hardly ever made a noise; I sometimes had the feeling I was travelling with an empty crate...

Just a few minutes after landing at Kinshasa airport, Lola's team and the airport security (RVA)were waiting for us. We all managed to leave the airport very fast and this was a good thing as I don't know if "Chibo" would have agreed to wait until everlasting talks had found an end.

Compared to Lubumbashi, the weather was very warm and humid. Although "Chibo" was doing alright at the back of the car we decided to stop once to give him some fresh water and fruit (grapes, his favorites!)

feeding Chibo on our way to Lola ya Bonobo
feeding Chibo on our way to Lola ya Bonobo

Arrival at the Sanctuary of Lola ya Bonobo was full of emotions. It was high time to get "Chibo" out of the crate and to have a close health check. The young bonobo shouted of contentment while jumping into my arms and hugged me so tightly I could hardly breathe...

Chibo coming out of the crate
Chibo coming out of the crate

Because "Chibo" had slight fever, I bathed him and  I walked with him for while in the gardens of Lola.

first bath
first bath

"Chibo" was very excited, made plenty of vocals expressing his fears and emotions of what was going on.

first walk in the gardens of LOLA
first walk in the gardens of LOLA

Then, he heard other bonobos making softer noises and ran to the nursery enclosure. We all followed him. I suddenly felt my role had just ended and that is was now LOLA and especially 'CHIBO' to decide of what was going to happen next.

Chiba staring at the other Bonobos
Chibo staring at the other Bonobos

Fanny of Lola got Lukuru and Kodoro to play with "Chibo" who was extremely happy to run around with new mates.

Chibo playing
Chibo playing

I couldn't believe my eyes. This moment was magic! "Chibo" encountering friends of his own kind was the aim of my mission...

playing and playing
playing and playing
Chibo tired - he had too much fun!
Chibo tired - he had too much fun!

 Since that moment, I personally decided to remain behind the scene. I was deeply convinced  baby "Chibo" was in good hands and, although it broke my heart not to stay that longer any more very close to him, I knew J.A.C.K. had done the best thing: to offer this little one a new home and a new life...

Fanny introducing Chibo in the nursery group
Fanny introducing Chibo in the nursery group
Chibo in the nursery group
Chibo in the nursery group

Today, 'Chibo' has a new mum : Maman Micheline !

Maman Micheline & Chibo
Maman Micheline & Chibo

Along with Kipolo, a bonobo who arrived 2 days before Chibo, our little friend  spends his days with Maman Micheline. He's doing fine, learning a lot about bonobo behaviour and we are very proud of his progress  !

Chibo (right) on the back of Maman Micheline
Chibo (right) on the back of Maman Micheline

"Chibo" has now a new name. Yes, I know, changing names isn't always good. But all the bonobos at Lola must have names of DRC places. The little boy is now called "Shibombo" which is  quite similar to the name we gave him at J.A.C.K.

Claudine hugging 'Tshibombo'
Claudine hugging 'Shibombo'

Before I end, I wish to thank all the people who took part in this bonobo transfer. Great thanks especially to  the DRC Authorities (Provincial Ministry of Environment), Claudine André and the team of LolaMr Jean and Mr Michel of  R.V.A / Kinshasa airport and Mr Stavros and all his team of  HEWA BORA AIRWAYS.

Merci à tous pour votre particpation à ce transfert exceptionnel; grâce à votre assistance, le sanctuaire J.A.C.K. a réussi la mission qu'il s'était donnée càd donner une nouvelle vie et une nouvelle chance à ce jeune bonobo.  MERCI pour LUI  !

the last time he really looked at me as if to say "goodgye"...
the last time he really looked at me as if to say "goodbye"...

I also want to thank our little "Chibo" who has given us at J.A.C.K. so much love and joy. He will be in our hearts FOREVER!!!!

We love you, 'Chibo'!!
We love you, 'Chibo'!!

J.A.C.K.

PS/ to read about Chibo's arrival seen through Lola ya Bonobo's eyes, go to :

1/ http://lolayabonobo.wildlifedirect.org/2010/07/28/shibombo-from-lubumbashi/

2/ http://www.friendsofbonobos.org/news/?p=1029