Lomako Conservation Science Center

Loss of habitat and a skyrocketing bushmeat trade have taken a toll on bonobo populations.

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.

Iyondji Community Bonobo Reserve

Bonobos in danger. 

One of the greatest threats to wildlife in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is loss of habitat due to land conversion, human encroachment, and logging. Establishing protected areas like national parks and reserves is one important step in helping to reverse this trend. Protecting habitat is especially important for the endangered bonobos, which only live in DRC and whose population is rapidly decreasing.

Ilima Conservation Primary School

In a remote part of rural DRC, AWF built a different kind of primary school.

When AWF arrived in Ilima, the local school was a ramshackle building that failed to serve the educational needs of its students. Located in a remote part of the forest in northwest DRC, Ilima’s community school rarely attracted the best teachers. Its isolated location and harsh tropical climate make the building of permanent infrastructure challenging.

Congo Shipping Project

Civil war has led to poverty and environmental degradation. 

Following years of social turmoil and civil war, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was left without a solid infrastructure and faced an impending environmental crisis. Due to conflict, farmers along the banks of the Congo and Maringa Rivers had no way to sell their crops. As a result, many took to hunting bushmeat or practicing slash-and-burn agriculture to make a living, subsequently destroying much of the ecosystem and leaving people without a sustainable means of income. 

African Apes Initiative

All of Africa’s great ape species are either endangered or critically endangered.

Africa is home to four of the world’s five great apes: the bonobo, chimpanzee, and two species of gorilla—the eastern and western. Unfortunately, all of these apes are facing extinction due to a number of threats, including habitat destruction and fragmentation, poaching, the risk of disease transfer from humans, and the pet trade.

Democratic Republic of Congo

There are parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo that does not make the news.

In spite of a history of political instability, the Democratic Republic of Congo is an ecological paradise.

Located in Central Africa, DRC is one of the most important countries in Africa for biodiversity conservation. More than 81 million people live here — as do a number of spectacular endemic species like the okapi, Grauer’s gorilla, bonobo, and Congo peacock along with over 400 other species of mammals, over 1,000 bird species, over 400 fish species, and over 10,000 species of plants.


Bonobos have experienced a sig