Fragile Secret of the Congo

The Bonobos are miniature, sharing, caring chimps, living in hippie communes with no aggression and lots of sex. ... Bonobos formerly known as "pygmy chimpanzees", a designation that served to distinguish them from regular chimps. Living an egalitarian lifestyle, their groups are beloved in that the women primarily head up the families. They are not-aggressive as chimpanzees are commonly known to be preferring food as a precursor to sexual activity and living loving lifestyles in lower areas of the Congo.

Only an estimated 15,000 bonobos remain in the wild – poaching and habitat loss are pushing them to the brink of extinction.

The Bonobo Conservation Initiative highlights the illegal bushmeat trade as the greatest problem faced by bonobos. While bonobo meat is traditionally taboo, political conflict has made it so that 90 percent of the DRC population can only afford to eat one meal per day, leading residents to turn to bonobo bushmeat to help feed their families. Bonobos only have babies once every four or five years.

Bonobo poaching is also considered an issue, due to the belief in some circles that bonobo parts enhance strength and sexual virility.

Oil exploration is another key issue the bonobo faces. Last week, documents detailing a redrawing of boundaries in two protected national parks were witnessed. Should the plans go into action, oil exploration in the DRC’s Salonga National Park and Virunga National Park would be permitted. Salonga is said to be home to at least 40 percent of wild bonobo populations while Virunga is home to a number of endangered species such as mountain gorillas and forest elephants. Salonga is currently the largest expanse of legally protected bonobo habitat in the DRC. It is currently unknown to what extent the proposed boundaries would affect bonobo populations.

Many areas of the Congo are now working diligently to maintain the remaining Bonobos in their locations through conservation, preservation of habitat, protection and education. Because Bonobos do not have offspring more than every 2-5 years, slaughter and poaching along with destruction of their habitat will have a devastating impact upon their survival.

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