In the Rainforests of Central Africa, a Rare Primate Struggles to Survive
by Rosalinda Villegas, age 14
Bonobos are only found in the rainforests of central Africa, exclusively in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This rare species is part of the great ape family, but they lack the aggression of many other ape species. Bonobos live in female-dominated societies and are peaceful and easy-going. During rare instances of conflict, individual bonobos often copulate to resolve these conflicts.
The bonobo population is dwindling. Less than 50,000 exist today. To help save this endangered primate, the DRC government and the U.S.- based Bonobo Conservation Initiative took action by creating a large sanctuary.
The 11,803-square-mile Sankuru Nature Reserve, which is bigger than the state of Massachusetts, shelters several thousand bonobos. Local communities have vowed to stop killing bonobos for meat in an effort for to prevent extinction.
The Sankuru Reserve is the first of many planned reserves that will make up the Bonobo Reserve Forest, a planned network of bonobo sanctuaries.
[Source: National Geographic]