This Wildlife Reserve is ideal for primate enthusiasts planning to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo for a safari. Located within Maringa-Lopori-Wamba Forest Landscape in Central Democratic Republic of Congo, Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve was the experiment and model for the Bonobo peace Forest and offers shelter to one of the largest populations of the Bonobos in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the World. This site is extraordinarily significant for research and conservation purposes and is one of the unique places in the World where these exceptional primates are habituated to get used to the presence of humans. As of now, four Bonobo groups/families can be visited on a daily basis by tourists (for ecotourism or research).
Interestingly, the native Mongandu people surrounding the Kokolopori respect and honor their ancestral traditions of protecting and conserving the endangered Bonobos and they do it diligently. These people work hand in hand with the Bonobo Conservation initiative (BCI) and the conservation partner Vie Sauvage to protect the forest habitat of these primates while at the same time improving their quality of life/standard of living. Together they have been able to initiate several promising and positively yielding livelihood programs including sustainable agriculture, improvement in health facilities, micro-finance loans, funding for the local schools and a number of Conservation enterprise programs among others.
This Bonobo Reserve has therefore inspired the surrounding communities/villages on their own initiative to create their own Wildlife Reserves depending on the same model. These initiatives include Nkokolombo, Likongo and Lingomo among others.
Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve was established in May 2009 through collaborative efforts of the BCI, Vie Sauvage, the Democratic Republic of Congo government, the Kokolopori residents and a number of supportive partners (organizations). The exchange of information and knowledge between all these partners has been tremendously significant in developing the planned Reserve that serves the needs and purposes of the native Bonobos, their habitats and the local communities surrounding the Reserve. The establishment of this reserve was importantly driven by the interests and efforts of the locals because if it wasn’t for their acceptance, the reserve wouldn’t thrive. Under the able leadership of Mr. Albert Lotana Lokasola the founder and Director of Vie Sauvage, Bonobo Conservation Initiative abbreviated BCI has supported ecological surveys, offered training and equipments while at the same time worked with the Vie Sauvage and the local community organizations to introduce several livelihood programs. It is situated within the Maringa-Lopori-Wamba Forest Landscape in Central DRC and currently covers over 4850 square kilometers (1870 square miles). Approximately 90% of the Bonobo Reserve is covered by Forest area while the remaining percentage is made up of Swamp forest.
Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve is currently a home to over 1000 wild Bonobos. From the time they were fully habituated to human presence, these primates are always studied at a close range. However, these animals and their habitats are faced with a number of threats that include logging, poaching, diseases, logging and agriculture. Besides the Bonobos, the Kokolopori Reserve offers shelter to other numerous Wildlife species that include a number of primates such as the exceptional Salongo monkeys (Cercopithecus Dryas).