Compared to Africa’s other great apes, the bonobo has been relatively less studied. Its geographic range stretches 500,000 square kilometers across the Democratic Republic of Congo’s remotest tropical forests — difficult to reach areas with a history of regional political unrest. As such, research on bonobo ecological preferences, habitat use, and distribution has been mostly limited to small areas accessible by foot. However, with increased pressure from hunting and habitat degradation facing this endangered great ape, further study has become increasingly critical.
Forest loss and degradation take various forms across the continent’s landscapes. Industrial logging, mining, and agriculture consume forests to meet the development goals of growing economies. They contribute to climate change and further degrade the forest’s health, resilience, and the services they provide.
Group ranches host significant proportions of Kenya’s terrestrial wildlife populations—including elephants that live outside or use lands beyond protected areas—and are predominantly inhabited by pastoralists. Since its implementation in the 1960s, the group ranch model has struggled to meet the demands of rising human and livestock populations and climate change impacts. Constrained by a lack of open space critical to their livelihood and facing dwindling prospects, group ranch pastoralists are increasingly sedentarized and diversifying into cultivation and tourism, often at the expense of wildlife populations and ecological processes.
It is not common for African primatologists and conservationists to mix, much less in a small town in Japan. But earlier this December, 16 African students representing 11 different countries came to Inuyama, Japan, to do just that. The odd group convened under the auspices of the African Primatological Consortium.