In 2009, at the invitation of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), the Zoological Society of Milwaukee’s BCBI research team surveyed a community-owned forest in the Maringa-Lopori-Wamba landscape along the Lomako River. Our goal was to determine whether bonobos were present, where they lived, and what their population status was in a ~1,700 km2 block of forest partially bordering the Lomako Yokokala Faunal Reserve. The project was funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fund for Great Apes, AWF, and Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Another goal was to train 20 villagers selected by community leaders in wildlife survey and monitoring techniques.
Dr. Gay E. Reinartz (right) uses the ground as a "blackboard" as she instructs volunteers in random data-sampling techniques.
This community-owned forest served local villages as a hunting reserve – a place where hunting was legal, except for federally protected species like the bonobo and forest elephant.
In the 2.5 months of instruction, the trainees – who ranged from professional hunters to college-educated teachers – learned how to identify bonobo nests and food remains, how to use a compass and a Global Positioning System (GPS), and how to collect scientific data. During their work on the survey, the local people themselves helped determine the status of the bonobo and other wildlife in their forest.
See the findings of the Lomako forest survey.