You are looking at a powerful female bonobo named Salonga who rules her family group at the Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary in the Congo. She was paying close attention to us as we were drifting past her in a small boat and when she raised herself and grimaced, it was clear that she was displaying her dominance.
Bonobos and humans have many gestures in common. Every day that we spend with them, we learn more about the close connections between us. Like the other bonobos at Lola, Salonga was brought here as a frightened orphan and nurtured into a healthy adult by an amazing group of dedicated Congolese bonobo conservationists. Check them out www.lolayabonobo.org and @LolaYaBonobo on Instagram. Follow us @FransLanting and @ChristineEckstrom and stay tuned for more bonobo discoveries when Frans and I head into the heart of the Congo Basin for a jungle expedition with Ashley Judd.