This Fridays post is dedicated to a monkey, or an ape rather! But not just any ape… A baby Bonobo ape named Bosongo. Isnt she the most precious thing?
Debbie and I are dedicating this post to her because she is special and lucky. We are also dedicating todays cocktail to her as well, because Mango’s are her favorite! Let me tell you her story… It takes place in rural DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), the only place in the world where Bonobos live in their natural habitat.
Bosongo, named for the little village where she is thought to be found, is about a year and a half old. As baby Bonobos stay very close to their mothers until they are the age of 5, her mother must have been killed and she was taken captive. Her capturer bound her by the wrists and waist and threw her in a bag. Somehow she managed to escape, and she was found by another man, named Joel, high in a tree, and scared to death. Joel brought Bosongo back to Inongo, the villiage where he lives. Inongo also happens to be where our good friends, Tristan and Jenn live.
Luckily Joel didnt try to hide the fact that he had a Bonobo in his care. He notified the city officials, despite pressure he received from other members of his family and neighbors to either sell her on the black market somehow or kill her and divide the meat among his friends and family (even though shes very small and there wouldnt have been much meat at all). A Bonobo can be sold on the black market for a lot of money by Canadian standards! However, it is highly illegal to capture and sell a Bonobo. Not to mention kill one! They are a very endangered species.
Jenn and Tristan got wind of what was going on and started dialogue with Joel and the city officials with the goal of making sure the baby Bonogo was well cared for, rescued, and sent to a sanctuary where she would be raised with other Bonobos and released back into the wild. They had contacted Lola Ya Bonobo, the only Bonobo sanctuary in the world, located just outside the capital city of the DRC, Kinshasa. The sanctuary told Jenn and Tristan that if they could get a hold of the baby monkey, the sanctuary would work with them to get her to the sanctuary within a couple of weeks.
Our friends were over the top excited with the prospect of having this baby in their care for a while, but also felt the weight of the importance of their mission. This little creatures life was in their hands and relied solely on their ability to convince Joel that surrendering the monkey to them was the best decision for him. After a few anxious days, Joel finally gave the baby to our friends! It was such a relief to Jenn and Tristan and all of us, their friends and family, that knew what was going on. We were all overjoyed when we got the first (of many) picture of Bosongo with her new foster family!
This is the first picture we got of them! Not the best picture, but a fantastic one at the same time…
That was about a week ago. Since then, she has gone from a lethargic and frightened creature, to an energetic and precocious little monkey that reminds all us mothers of our kids when they were toddlers. Only our kids didnt have 4 freeking hands! Its crazy how good she is with her feet as well as her hands. Its also amazing to see how human like like she is! She loves to be cuddled and asks to get picked up by stretching out her arms to Jenn or Tristan. She loves to make a mess and she freaks out when you take something away from her that she wants, or tell her to stop doing something shes not supposed to be doing. She is learning to drink from a cup! Shes very smart and never forgets. She has quickly lodged herself in their hearts, and ours for that matter. And I think the feeling is mutual for her with them.
It is going to be very bitter sweet when they have to say good bye to her at the sanctuary.
Check out this little girl in action!
Bosongo is special because she is has stolen all our hearts, but she is also special because she is a Bonobo ape. Bonobo’s are humans closest relatives, which is why Bosongo is so amazingly human like. They are only found in the Congo forests and partly because of the deforestation issues and partly a result of the Congolese eating them as bushmeat, the Bonobo’s are facing extinction.
Bonobos have a difficult time increasing their numbers because females only have an offspring once every 5 years and they dont begin to have babies until they are 15 years old. Luckily, thanks to Jenn and Tristan and the Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary, this little girl will have the chance to grow up and become a mother herself one day!
(Thats Jenn asking Bosongo for a hug. She discovered that if she opened her arms and made a sound like an ape, that Bosongo would stop what she was doing and come jump into her arms. How cool is that! )
The cost to transport Bosongo to the sanctuary, about $3000, has already been raised, however there are many more Bonobo’s in need now and in the future. If Bosongo’s story has touched your heart and you want to help her and her kind, please visit Lola Ya Bonobo’s website at www.friendsofbonobos.org to donate or adopt a Bonobo. (All donations are tax free for Americans!) If you noticed in the pictures that one of Bosongo’s eyes is cloudy, its because she has a cataract that she was likely born with and it is totally fixable, but the money for that operation will need to be raised as well.
Also, if you are interested in reading a more detailed version of this story and other tales of the Congo, Jenn and Tristan write a blog of their own where they record the adventures of living abroad in (very) rural Africa. You can find their blog at www.ourcongoadventure.blogspot.ca
On to the cocktail!
As I mentioned before, mangos are Bosongo’s absolute favorite thing to eat. She thinks they are treats and she screams if you try to take any away from her! So we thought since this post is all about her, we would make a cocktail and name if after her. The Bosongo! A Mango Lemon Fizz. Im sure glad that we had her as in inspiration because I dont think I have ever made a drink before with real mangos and it is mind blowingly delicious!
Another plus is that Jenn and Tristan, who are not able to make most of our cocktails due to the accessibility of ingredients, are able to make this one! Or at least they will be when they can get their hands on some soda or sprite. lol
Dont be afraid to have pureed mango in your drink. As long as you whiz it up good, its not pulpy at all.
When I brought my mangos home from the store, I was disappointed to find that they were not quite yet ripe. However, I whizzed them up in my magic bullet and threw in a little cane sugar to help sweeten them up just a bit. It was still really really good, but if you can get more ripe mangos, this drink will be even better!
Happy Thanksgiving all you Canadians!
The Bosongo! A Mango Lemon Fizz
- 1 mango , diced
- 1 lemon , juiced
- 1 tsp cane sugar (optional, depending on how sweet your mango is)
- 1 - 1 1/2 oz vodka , in each drink
- 1 oz limonchello , in each drink
- 6 oz soda , in each drink
- cane sugar for the rim
Run a lemon around the rim of each glass and dip in the cane sugar to coat the rim.
Add the mango and lemon juice and cane sugar if you like, to a blender or magic bullet. Whiz it up really well!
Divide the mango mixture between two glasses and add the vodka and limonchello. Give it a stir.
Fill up the glass with some ice and then top them up with soda.