Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 8 April 2009 Issue
The Unique Bonobo
--from the Bonobo Protection Fund
[The appearance of bonobos make them] the most human-like of all apes. Their stride, their stance, their resting postures, their gestures, and their facial expressions all look more like our own than those of chimpanzees, gorillas or orangutans. Often, in the forest, large groups of 200 to 300 individuals come together for what appear to be "visits." During such times, there is almost constant "talking" or vocal exchange, as though they are catching up on past gossip---however, we really do not know, as study of these apes is barely in its infancy.
View the BBC's excellent "http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/cta/progs/02/earth_report/30may.ram" video on the threat to the African apes from the bushmeat trade.
From an earlier Cincinnati Zoo web page:
Currently, bonobo populations number less than 20,000 individuals. This number is assumed to be dropping. Political unrest in Zaire is preventing researchers from entering the country, and has led to the end of negotiations with the government to set aside more protected land for bonobo habitat. Previous to the war in Zaire, reserves were being patrolled regularly in order to protect existing bonobo populations from poaching. Today, the guards have left their stations because of a lack of financial support and the threat of war. This leaves bonobos completely unprotected. Researchers fear the worst.
An excerpt from the The Bonobo Protection Fund literature:
Bonobos are also called pygmy chimpanzees. The name pygmy chimp was bestowed by Westerners in the 1930's, not because the animals were diminutive in size, but because they lived near human pygmies. It is important to understand that bonobos (Pan paniscus) are not chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). While they share the same genus, bonobos and chimps are markedly distinct species.
The uncommon social structure, sexual behavior and intellectual capacity of bonobos reveal compelling clues about the roots of human nature. Bonobo anatomy is eerily similar to that of our early human ancestors. Bonobos and humans share 98% of the same genes.
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