Empty Hands, Open Arms: The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make Conservation Go Viral

April 8, 2021
Empty Hands, Open Arms: The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make Conservation Go Viral

"Absorbing . . . Béchard's masterful, adventure-drivenreporting delivers an inspiring account of an all-too-rareecological success story." —BooklistBonobos have captured the public imagination, due not least totheir famously active sex lives. Less well known is the fact thatthese great apes don't kill their own kind, and that they sharenearly 99% of our DNA. Their approach to building peacefulcoalitions and sharing resources has much to teach us, particularlyat a time when our violent ways have pushed them to the brink ofextinction.Animated by a desire to understand bonobos and learn how to savethem, Deni Ellis Béchard traveled into the Congo. Empty Hands,Open Arms is the account of this journey. Along the way, wesee how partnerships between Congolese and Westerners, with fewresources but a common purpose and respect for indigenousknowledge, have resulted in the protection of vast swaths of therainforest. And we discover how small solutions—found throughopenness, humility, and the principle that poverty does not equalignorance—are often most effective in tackling our biggestchallenges. Combining elements of travelogue, journalism, andnatural history, this incomparably rich book takes the reader notonly deep into the Congo, but also into our past and future,revealing new ways to save the environment and ourselves."Riveting [and] surprisingly uplifting." —David Suzuki, authorof The Sacred Balance"The embodiment of the type of reporting that we dream ofreading, but all too rarely encounter—intelligent, engaged, andabove all, astonishingly perceptive." —Dinaw Mengestu, author ofThe Beautiful Things That Heaven BearsAlso published as Of Bonobos and Men.