Congo woman spending Columbus Zoo award on bonobos

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The first recipient of a $50,000 award from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium plans to use the money to help save bonobos in Africa.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that 66-year-old Claudine Andre, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was receiving the Commitment for Conservation Award on Saturday night. She says she’s taking it to the Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary in her home country.

The zoo says it has given money to the sanctuary since Andre started it in 2002 and chose her for the new award because of her dedication.

Andre’s passion for the apes began when she nursed an orphaned baby bonobo back to health while volunteering at the Kinshasa Zoo in Congo in 1992.

Bonobos are closely related to humans and are threatened by poaching.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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