The thing that fascinates me about them is the relationship between the mamas and their babies. Mama bonobos kiss their babies' booboos. They snuggle anxious babes to soothe them and sometimes breast feed them for as long as five years. Young bonobos play games just like human children. They laugh when they are tickled!
Thought to be the most intelligent primates after humans, bonobos use tools for gathering food and share their meals as a group. They don't have war and there is no infanticide (unlike Chimpanzees), all their conflicts are resolved through touch.
Here's the bad news. In the wild, bonobos only live in the rainforests of Democratic Republic of Congo, an area that has been ripped apart by war since 1996. These gentle apes are being hunted for food right up to the brink of extinction. Scientists predict that, unless immediate and dramatic action is taken to protect the bonobos and their habitat, they will disappear in ten years. I don't know about you, my friends, but I don't want to live in a world without bonobos.
When my friend Mathea Levine learned abut the bonobos she decided to do something to save them. She partnered with nature photographer Marian Brickner and Jane Goodall to write a children's book about one bonobo family. The book, I'm Lucy: A Day in the Life of a Young Bonobo is absolutely charming. All of the profits from the book go to the Bonobos Conservation Initiative and Jane Goodall's youth organization, Roots and Roots and Shoots!
She and my BFF Julie Roads,web marketing genius, put together a website to go with the book that is just the coolest thing ever. The book comes with a unique password for the website. This site is the opposite of those horrible webkinz- you know, the stuffed animal that comes with a website password and when the kid goes to the website it tells them they MUST HAVE MORE WEBKINZ. This is not that.
The idea of the website is to empower kids to make a difference in the world. The tag line is "Save the Bonobo. Save the World." There's this Can-Do Meter where kids can check off tasks as they complete them- things like switching to a reusable water bottle instead of using disposable plastic ones. Kids earn points toward all kinds of cool stuff, which keeps them motivated to do more good things.
You can also adopt a bonobo! This fits in perfectly with my anti-consumerism, handmade holiday idea.
I am so smitten with these animals and this book that I want to share it with you. I'm giving away three copies of I'm Lucy: A Day in the Life of a Young Bonobo. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below promising you'll check out the BonobosKids website when you leave here. Easy-peasy, right?
There is one caveat- you can't post anonymously, cause if you win, I won't know who you are.
My good buddy Random Number Generator will do the honors of selecting our three lucky ducks on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. I will post the winners names here. Winners should contact me via email at susangibbs1 AT mac DOT com with their shipping address.