Fanny Minesi

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Fanny Minesi rescues endangered bonobos from poachers, gives them sanctuary, and rewilds them in the rainforests of the DRC. As director of Friends of Bonobos of the Congo (ABC), Fanny’s strategy to tackle the root causes of bonobo endangerment – poverty, lack of education and economic opportunity – is comprehensive and unmatched.

Working in conservation is profoundly complex in a country as ravaged by poverty as the DRC. Fanny is firm in her conviction that in order for conservation to be successful, local people must benefit from the sacrifices they make for conservation.

Her achievements are varied and many. She vastly expanded the Ekolo ya Bonobo Community Reserve; worked with governmental authorities to establish Ekolo as a provincial Protected Area. Ekolo, now at 117,000 acres and growing, is the only Protected Area in the DRC managed by an NGO in collaboration with local communities; the government provides technical support rather than co-managing.

Fanny accomplished all this over the last nine years while simultaneously working with DRC legal entities to rescue 41 bonobo orphans from the criminal trade of poaching endangered wildlife; operating a rehabilitation sanctuary and education center for 70+ bonobos and initiating environmental education programs that have reached more than 27,000 people in remote areas plagued by bushmeat hunting and more than 380,000 in DR Congo.

Don’t be afraid, do something! Try, make mistakes and then try again. Start small and do something, and together we can make a huge difference for our planet. No matter what your background you can do something to make a difference..”

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