So last Friday I finished a book I pretty much raced through (not my usual reading style, as I rarely give myself permission for pleasure reading). This, however, started as a bookstore purchase I’d figured was research for a novel I am beginning…I’ve been reading lots of YA fiction (YA=Young Adult) to immerse myself, and am rarely lucky enough to be truly transported, as I felt with Endangered by Eliot Schrefer. The teen protagonist, Sophie, visits her mother at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo just prior to war arriving and shattering the peace in the region. Sophie ends up alone in the wild, with one, then variously other bonobos depending on her for survival almost as much as she depends on them. It is a great story, and the conservation/bonobo behavior/harrowing setting make it a super-fast read. I loved finding out more about the author on his webpage (www.eliotschrefer.com) and how he really ended up jumping into telling this story because of time he spent at a volunteer conservation project.
People of every stripe and focus come home changed forever from volunteer vacations and service travel–and very often become terrific spokespeople for the issues and difficulties faced by the communities they served. Foundations and charities are formed, campaigns waged, funds raised, lives saved, books written, long after volunteers return home and unpack their bags. It is how this work spins the world at a little better velocity, keeping it from wobbling on its axis, as it surely would if we never reached out to one another. Get activated. Get this book. Find out more about the plight and conservation of bonobos via the organizations Eliot Schrefer recommends after he jumped into the issue (links below):
African Wildlife Foundation focuses on general conservation, conserving wildlife, protecting land, and empowering people.
World Wildlife Fund is the world’s leading independent conservation body.
Conservation International works worldwide to sustain biodiversity and a sustainable planet for all species.
Specific focus on bonobos:
Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) is based in both Washington D.C. and the Deomcratice Republic of Congo, dedicated to protecting bonobos, their rainforest habitat, and empowering local communities in the Congo Basin. Volunteer opportunities available.
Terese and John Hart work with local Congolese teams for exploration, conservation, and discovery with in-depth field study of bonobo populations in the DR Congo.