Due to the hostile nature of Congo’s war-ravaged lands, the number of remaining Bonobos apes is one that is hard to pinpoint, and as a result there is no true approximation of their population size today. We are aware of one major fact, however. These creatures are endangered and their numbers are only decreasing. Multiple threats face the bonobos. Their main habitat exists within only one country: the Democratic Republic of Congo. The wars that have faced this area have directly affected the bonobos, through bushmeat trade and the destruction of their natural habitat.
The range of the bonobos is embodied in the last stronghold of the Congo rainforest, a prime target for loggers. Although the government has tried to stop the decimation of the rainforest, illegal activities persist. Bonobos are one of the most fascinating species that exist because of their uncanny similarities to that of man, sharing 98% of the same genetic make-up. The Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) is a small, innovative non-profit organization that is the only one dedicated solely to the conservation of these apes. Their observation and respect of the animals has carried over into their efforts in saving these animals.
Photo credit: Ben Buckley
Bonobos are known to be a peaceful species and BCI adopts this quality into their practices through educating the public, establishing protective areas, and capacity building for Congolese partners and indigenous communities. They have also launched a project known as the Bonobo Peace Forest Project (the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve), which has gained legal recognition as a nature reserve. The reserve encompasses 1,847 square miles and is home to over 1,000 bonobos, creating a safe habitat for this species to flourish in. With all of their attention on these primates, BCI has found a deep-rooted respect for these creatures and hopes to increase global awareness, believing that everyone can help make a difference.
Photo credit: Dan Caspersz
To learn more, please visit their website.