Population: 10,000 to 50,000 | Extinction risk: Endangered
Our peace-loving cousins are still a mystery
Bonobos share 98.7% of their genetic code with humans, making them, along with chimpanzees, our closest living relatives. As the last great ape to be scientifically discovered, much still remains unknown about the bonobo.
Poaching: Humans hunt bonobos to eat them, trade them as bushmeat, keep them as pets and for use in traditional medicine. Specific bonobo body parts are believed to enhance sexual vigor or strength. The number of bonobos lost to poaching each year is not known, but the number of bonobo charms available in parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo suggests that poaching may be common.
“Bonobos are fascinating creatures and little understood. They have the only great ape society led by females, with a sophisticated social structure that encourages cooperation and peace.”
~Dr. Richard Carroll, Vice President, Africa Program