According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Species, only an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 bonobos remain—and their numbers are declining. The bonobo’s range is limited to about 350,000 square kilometers in the Central African nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This habitat is increasingly fragmented by slash-and-burn agriculture and logging. Only a small portion of the bonobo’s habitat is currently protected, and unsustainable bushmeat hunting is a major threat.
With generous support from African Wildlife Foundation's major donor Barron Wall and the Arcus Foundation, AWF opened the Lomako Conservation Science Center in DRC. The new science center is a valuable tool to expand scientific knowledge of bonobos and forest ecology in the DRC. Fully staffed with full-time cooks and guides—and boasting its own edible landscape as well as a wealth of endemic species of birds, mammals, insects, and other animals—the center is a veritable paradise for biological researchers and wilderness-loving visitors alike. The result: a research hub in the middle of the forest that attracts the attention of university scientists from around the world, fosters greater bonobo research, employs locals in conservation efforts, and provides income for communities from incoming scientists.
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