Learn More About Bonobos
Bonobos, along with chimpanzees, are our closest relative – we share 98.7% of our DNA with this great ape! This endangered great ape lives only in the central rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bonobos play an important ecological role in the rainforest by dispersing seeds in their feces that pass through their system from the food that they eat. They also act as nature’s landscapers by preferring to eat certain bows and leaves, which helps to regenerate pockets of the rainforest. However, much is unknown about this social primate, including how many are left in the wild. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 50,000 bonobos remain. The main threats to the bonobo are hunting for bushmeat and habitat loss due to forest logging and agricultural development.
Bonobos are matriarchal, which means that the females are in charge! Young female bonobos are also the ones to leave their natal (family) group upon sexual maturity – unlike chimpanzees and gorillas. For more than 20 years, the Zoological Society operated the Bonobo & Congo Biodiversity Initiative to bolster wild bonobo populations and learn more about their ecological importance in the Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo.