WAZA Statement on Bili the Bonobo at Wuppertal Zoo
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) supports the Wuppertal Zoo in Germany in its efforts to create a safe and positive environment for Bili, the bonobo who is currently having a difficult time integrating into a new social group. This process of settling is not always easy, and aggression and conflict can occur. The staff at Wuppertal Zoo are allowing the bonobos to voluntarily separate into smaller groups and using this natural fission-fusion behaviour to allow small groups of different combinations of animals to interact together, in the hope that Bili will slowly be accepted as social bonds between animals are strengthened. WAZA agrees with the proposal not to move Bili to another location as integration problems could likely start all over again and agrees that Bili should not be moved to a location where there are no other bonobos with which to socialise. Bili and the other bonobos at Wuppertal are monitored by experienced staff, and a reduction in conflict and some positive interactions such as grooming have been seen. While social interactions and integration programs come with ups and downs, it is the hope that these positive developments continue, and WAZA trusts that the staff at Wuppertal will continue to do all to promote optimal welfare for Bili and the other bonobos.