BUSHMEAT 5 : Ashley Goes South, Up the Lomami

And what do they find? More of the same. Alas.

Ashley, Bernard, Kahindo, Dino with all their field teams , headed south in both dugouts.
Ashley peering from pirogue
The teams heading south to do inventory circuits in new areas.

They stopped at the village of Ngoma Myuli, in the Province of Kasai Orientale and within the new Sankuru Reserve. It is a small village of just over 30 people. The ethnic group is Balanga.
lomami village 1
Ngoma Myuli is a small pleasant village.

Ashley says this:

“They are friendly and open, but have no scruples about hunting. That’s how they make a living.

They proudly showed us yesterday’s catch. It includes monkeys and among them a bonobo.
4 dead monkeys killed by a calibre 12 shotgun
They caught two black mangabeys, a black and white colobus and a local variety of blue monkey.

There is a 12 gauge shotgun. That is what killed all of them. There are no military weapons: No AK47, No FAL and no outlaws or brigands terrorizing the population.
This old gun has been modified for use today to hunt Bonobos and monkeys
The headman demonstrated his old 12-gauge for me — that was all he needed to make a life from bushmeat.

The bushmeat is carried to the village of Kindu. It takes at least 3 days to get there: pirogue and bicycle.

Sold in Kindu, the dead monkeys are each worth 8000 Francs Congolais or $14.50 That is more than twice the mark up from selling them here to a traveling merchant . But the bonobo – now that is real money – if smoked whole and sold in Kindu, it could get 50 US dollars, maybe even a bit more.
Bonobo head in the village of Ngoma Myula
Head of male bonobo killed in same hunting trip as the primates pictured above.

This is the challenge to conservation. How do you turn good people away from a good living with no alternative of equal value to offer ??
The hads of the dead bonobo male
How can the hands of these two species be made more equal in our use of this land?

For more information about bushmeat hunting in the TL2 landscape:

About bushmeat trade – general:

Different views of bonobo:


  1. Greg Davies
    Posted 2008-06-18 at 1:11 am | Permalink


  2. antonio canella
    Posted 2008-06-18 at 1:25 am | Permalink


  3. antonio canella italy
    Posted 2008-06-18 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    very disturbing and a great cultural problem

  4. Wanda, Atlanta
    Posted 2008-06-18 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    I hate it – it angers me to no end — there is absolutely nothing that can excuse the fact that they kill wildlife that will soon be all gone — so I hope the deaths are short and swift and I hope there is no torture and I hope that when the forest are empty and the money is gone and the sicko’s who buy it and eat it are satisfied and the Government’s that let this get by – may they all starve – the beautiful animals will be dead and at peace at least – let the humans who shot them scrounge in the dirt forever!

  5. sheryl bottner
    Posted 2008-06-18 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Christ almighty.


  6. michael
    Posted 2008-06-18 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    horrible, i agree with wanda.
    the income of this “friendly” people
    depends on healthy forests for example
    the sankuru reserve.

    on the other side some guards risk their lifes to save the last small
    pockets of nature.

  7. Posted 2008-06-18 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Utterly depressing news. Do they not consider what will happened when they’ve killed every non-human animal?


  8. Terese Hart
    Posted 2008-06-18 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    It is depressing but it is not hopeless. It is clear that a Reserve in name is not enough as the killing happened within the Sankuru Reserve. And it is clear that a ban on bonobo killing is not enough — as that already exists, and that too is not effective. But I STILL believe that carefully prepared protected areas, created and maintained with local, regional, national and international participation can be effective. This has been shown for certain areas within DRCongo even during war time. But the effort must be put in the areas of highest actual and potential wildlife abundance and — it is a long term effort. BUT IT CAN BE EFFECTIVE, and small steps are moving us ahead (arrests of the worst offenders such as Thoms and Ranger, education, working with regional and local authorities)…

  9. colleen
    Posted 2008-06-29 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    question – what is the difference between the people drilling for oil in the arctic and the hunters shooting bonobo in the Congo? I was quite touched by your last entry and the compassion in the facts – thank for the education….

  10. Posted 2008-07-07 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Colleen, And thinking about it there is an answer to this question:
    “How do you turn good people away from a good living with no alternative of equal value to offer ?? ”
    Not really an answer to the question but to the challenge:
    There has to be an alternative of greater value than bushmeat. That happens in two ways. The first we don’t want to let happen: The bushmeat runs out and things that were lower value become comparatively more profitable with no intervention on anyone’s part.
    The second, that we have to find, means finding alternative livelihood of greater profit: fish farming??, growing high-value produce?? working for an enterprise ?? None of these is impossible — but in DRCongo as it is now, none is obvious. We are not giving up though!!

  11. DG
    Posted 2012-03-28 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Well, they could do what we do: chop the whole forest down, pave it over, build some strip malls and box stores. The bonobos would all die of habitat loss, but at least, the villagers wouldn’t be directly responsible as if they had shot them. Or would they?

    Alot of the people commenting are saying that these people are stupid for being so short-sighted about the natural resources in their area. But the fact is, they probably live far more sustainably than our culture does. If they lived our lifestyle, we would need 5 more planet Earths. I’m not saying I approve or that it should go on, what I’m saying is let’s look in our backyard and our own practices before telling anyone else they’re stupid and shortsighted.

  12. Kayleigh
    Posted 2012-05-02 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I certainly agree that it is absolute devastating how these beautiful animals were killed. I also think it’s important that more people learn how incredibly intelligent and loving bonobos are and that it should be a priority to protect them.

    However, some of you need to put yourself in the shoes of the people who need this work in order to live themselves. I think that before you call them terrible and heartless, you should take a second to think about the fact that they may be supporting their families. It’s easy to call this selfish when you’re sitting comfortably at your computer, but if you were actually in the situation, you may very well find yourself making the same decision. It’s much harder to think about the big picture when you’re in an immediately difficult situation.

    I am not arguing with anything you’re saying; I totally agree that this is a huge issue that needs to be addressed. I just hope that we can do our best to help without making judgements about the moral character of people who we don’t know at all, because that’s just inconsiderate and disrespectful.

One Trackback

  1. […] (1) A previously unknown population of the great ape, bonobo, that only lives on the left bank of the Congo River ( https://www.bonoboincongo.com/the-bonobo/).  This population of about 9000 bonobos is being hunted. (https://www.bonoboincongo.com/2008/06/17/bushmeat-5-ashley-goes-south-up-the-lomami/) […]

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