Empty Hands, Open Arms

Empty Hands, Open Arms

The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make Conservation Go Viral

Book - 2013
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Baker & Taylor
Describes the author's and the Bonobo Conservation Initative's efforts to protect the endangered bonobos in the Congo through a grassroots approach that works with communities to create a self-sustaining model of conservation.

Perseus Publishing
When acclaimed author Deni Béchard first learned of the last living bonobos?matriarchal great apes that are, alongside the chimpanzee, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom?he was completely astonished. How could the world possibly accept the extinction of this majestic species?

Béchard discovered one relatively small NGO, the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI), which has done more to save bonobos than many far larger organizations. Based on the author’s extensive travels in the Congo and Rwanda, this book explores BCI's success, offering a powerful, truly postcolonial model of conservation. In contrast to other traditional conservation groups Béchard finds, BCI works closely with Congolese communities, addressing the underlying problems of poverty and unemployment, which lead to the hunting of bonobos. By creating jobs and building schools, they gradually change the conditions that lead to the eradication of the bonobos.

This struggle is far from easy. Devastated by the worst military conflict since World War II, the Congo and its forests continue to be destroyed by aggressive logging and mining. Béchard's fascinating and moving account—filled with portraits of the extraordinary individuals and communities who make it all happen offers a rich example of how international conservation must be reinvented before it's too late.

When acclaimed author Deni Béchard first learned of the last living bonobosmatriarchal great apes that are, alongside the chimpanzee, our closest relatives in the animal kingdomhe was completely astonished. How could the world possibly accept the extinction of this majestic species?

Béchard discovered one relatively small NGO, the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI), which has done more to save bonobos than many far larger organizations. Based on the author’s extensive travels in the Congo and Rwanda, this book explores BCI's success, offering a powerful, truly postcolonial model of conservation. In contrast to other traditional conservation groups Béchard finds, BCI works closely with Congolese communities, addressing the underlying problems of poverty and unemployment, which lead to the hunting of bonobos. By creating jobs and building schools, they gradually change the conditions that lead to the eradication of the bonobos.

This struggle is far from easy. Devastated by the worst military conflict since World War II, the Congo and its forests continue to be destroyed by aggressive logging and mining. Béchard's fascinating and moving account—filled with portraits of the extraordinary individuals and communities who make it all happen offers a rich example of how international conservation must be reinvented before it's too late.


Book News
Bchard relates the efforts of a small conservation group to save the bonobo great apes from extinction. Working in the Congo, the relatively small Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI)has been more effective in its work than many larger organizations. In what is a documentary with a certain amount of travelogue added, the author describes the BCI’s alternative approaches to conservation. That system, unlike many others, does not mandate a system on the Congolese communities with which it works. Instead, the BCI employs what is more properly referred to as an exchange program in which it helps communities by working with them on problems such as lack of employment or education that result in hunting bonobos. Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Publisher: Minneapolis, Minn. : Milkweed Editions, 2013
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781571313409
1571313400
Branch Call Number: 599.885 BECHA
Characteristics: xi, 330 pages, 16 pages of color plates : color illustrations ; 23 cm

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