Most kind-hearted primate

William H. Calvin

This Congo Basin dweller, chimp-like looking great apes are a bit smaller with longer legs, shorter arms, smaller heads, flatter faces, pink lips, and less prominent brow ridges.

Bonobos are semi-terrestrial and active during day times. They live in fission-fusion communities led by the experienced matriarch. They enjoy eating various fruits and seeds while their diet is supplemented by leaves, honey, flowers, stems, bark, fungus, and shoots. They are foraging in moist, dry forests, woodland, marshy grassland, swamp forests, mature, mixed, secondary forests, and savannah.

These loving creatures are facing the threat of extinction because of their shrinking habitat, and even in protected areas poaching and illegal activities are continued unchecked.


Population est.
DR Congo (Kinshasa)

Recent updates

April 2022: In a historic move, an NGO in the Democratic Republic of Congo has successfully released 14 bonobos into their natural habitat, marking only the second time ever that a group of bonobos has been reintroduced in the wild. The initiative aims to help restore the wild bonobo population, which is currently threatened by poaching, deforestation, and pet trade.

2019: The Ekolo ya Bonobo Community Reserve is at risk of losing its unique species, but Friends of Bonobos is working to protect the forest by pushing for it to be designated a National Park. This could safeguard the reserve’s two animal groups, bonobos and blue monkeys, from becoming endangered. With the status of a National Park, the Ekolo ya Bonobo Community Reserve will have the protection it needs to ensure its species remain safe in the wild.

Did you know?

  • These pygmy chimps are the closest relatives of humans genetically ( just like chimps). Still, they have demonstrated unique emotional and social behavior based on non-violence and empathy, which is rare in the animal kingdom and ideally very humane.
  • Poaching and bushmeat hunting is becoming more commercialized and is wiping out the bonobo population at an alarming rate.
  • They are understudied because of their remote habitats, making it even more difficult to manage their conservation in the field.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Troop

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No