Up close and Personal with Congo’s Elusive Bonobo Apes
The rare Bonobo Apes are perhaps the only jungle dwellers far more mysterious than the ‘unreachable’ Iyaelima people that have lived in the very heart of Congo since the dawn of time.
To see these great apes in their natural habitat is a memory for a lifetime. Several efforts and expeditions are being carried out to understand and save both species.
What’s with the Bonobo?
Bonobos are by far human’s closest relative in terms of DNA profiles. In other words, we share many similarities from behavior, social skills, the use of tools to get food, and to work together to achieve a common goal.
Thus, these intelligent creatures were thought to have evolved and separated from the common chimps for at least 1 million years.
The Amazing Body Structure
The Bonobo Chimp’s body structures are extraordinarily amazing! They can bend or walk easily thanks to their shorter legs.
Like humans, they can walk in an upright position, but experts believed that this gesture uses a lot of power. Apparently, the movements are slow and limited in that setup.
As compared to other great apes, they are relatively lighter, so they can climb up and down trees easily, swing between branches, or cling without using too much power.
In spite of their limited four-foot tall heights, their upper bodies are extremely strong and tough. Such dexterity and finesse allowed them to survive from the common predators – the leopards and snakes.
Bonobo’s Social Structure
The females rule bonobo’s society. Female daughters leave the troop while the sons keep lifelong mother-son connection. The young female bonobo will soon regain her standing in the society once she gives birth.
These great apes are peace loving creatures, which, presumably, due to its female leaders. They are also quite sensitive to each other’s needs as shown by gestures and other forms of physical contact.
Definitely, Nests Aren’t For Birds Only
One interesting bonobo trait is their nest building. The nest building is a regular evening chore using intertwined twigs and leaves in the forks of the trees.
It turns out that these nests give them the necessary protection against their predators. It’s also an excellent way to keep track of each other, and to show compassion by sharing the nest between adult bonobos.
The bonobo’s existence has now entered the endangered species scale. Only a few of them are out in the wild. The destruction of their habitat by humans, unscrupulous harvesting for food, and selling their babies to pet trades has resulted in a massive decline in population.
Deforestation for logging and roads paved the way for easy access in capturing them, as well as other forest species. The Wild Animal Park and San Diego Zoo are the last frontiers for bonobo’s existence.
Since 1960, the conservation efforts remained strong ensuring our future generations to witness these intelligent creatures.