Wamba Diary #13
After “Humans of New York”, “Paris”, or “Tehran”, here comes the first portrait for “Humans of Wamba”! Nkoyi Batolumbo, ~73-83++ (people don’t know their exact birthdate here and it may vary of a few years…), freshly back from a ~1200km motorbike and boat trip to open a bank account (-we were a bit worried…), is the first bonobo tracker of the Wamba project. Papa Nkoyi (= leopard in Lingala) survived one civil war and much more. His name comes from a story that happened during the chaos. At that time (1996), bonobo research was interrupted as the army was occupying our present field station and many villagers escaped into the forest. One day, some soldiers threatened Papa Nkoyi and asked him to show them where the bonobos live. They wanted to get some meat. Papa Nkoyi refused. He told them that they can kill him but he won’t show the location of the bonobos because he doesn’t want to lose his job. Since then, “Nkoyi” was added in front of his name to reflect his fearless character, bonobos survived, and research resumed in 2003. Papa Nkoyi is now retired and an honorary member of the Center for Research in Ecology and Forestry (CREF) at Wamba.
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