Where do bonobos live?
Bonobos are found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between the Congo River, the Lomami River, the Kasai/Sankuru Rivers, and Lake Tumba/Lac Ndombe region.
Bonobos can survive in close proximity to human communities that are willing to co-habitate with these peaceful apes. Recent surveys show that many areas had bonobos 20 years ago and now they have none. The DRC has been politically unstable for the last 10 years and has made a major impact on the bonobos decline.
Tags: DRC, Congo, East Africa
View Africa | Habitat
What are bonobos?
Our closest cousins, bonobos share 98.4 percent of our genetic makeup. They’re distinguished by their black faces, red lips, two or three webbed toes, a tail tuft, and parted long hair.
Bonobos whimper when they fail, just like humans.
Bonobos move quadrupedally in a special position called knuckle-walking. In trees, they also tend to suspend themselves from their arms to move around easier. And on the ground, the bonobo can walk bipedally as well, making it the most human-like of all apes.
The bonobo lives in a fission-fusion society. That is, dividing and coming back together on a regular basis. Groups range from 50-100 which, during the day, break up into smaller foraging parties. At night, they reunite with each subgroup making a sleeping nest from branches and leaves.
Bonobos control their emotions during times of happiness, sorrow, excitement, or anger. They also have human-like gestures when communicating without sound—they beg by stretching out an open hand and they whimper if they fail at something.
Bonobos love to feast on fruit.
While fruit is their primary food source, Bonobos will also eat leaves, flowers, seeds, bark, invertebrates, and small vertebrates. Bonobos eat over 113 types of plants, in fact. If they eat meat, it’s usually opportunistic versus the result of an organized hunt.