Established in 1994 by Claudine Andre, Lola ya Bonobo (‘Paradise for bonobos’ in Lingala) is the world’s only sanctuary for orphaned bonobos. The story began in 1993, when a baby bonobo was bought to Kinshasa Zoo were Claudine was volunteering at the time. She was told that like others before it, it will probably die. However through dedication and patience Claudine saved the bonobo and before long locals were bringing injured and abandoned bonobos to her. The government then heard of this work and began to confiscate captive bonobos, whose capture and sale is illegal in DRC, and take them to Claudine for expert care. In 2002, because of ever growing numbers the charity moved to a forested 70 acre area just outside Kinshasa. In 2010 they organised the first-ever successful reintroduction of bonobos back into the wild.
Through the Conservation Welfare fund, Twycross Zoo helps with the daily running of Lola ya Bonobo, where currently 60 bonobos live. The sanctuary also participates in an education programme with the local communities, educating people on topics such as what a bonobo is, the impact of the bushmeat trade and that it is illegal to hunt and capture bonobos. Twycross Zoo has supported this project since 2007.