Protecting Bonobos in Congo

Kokolopori bonobo
The gentle bonobo – a primate living in the Democratic Republic of Congo – is facing serious threats.

This genetic cousin to humans is struggling for survival, and may be just decades away from extinction after years of hunting, logging, and war throughout its fragile habitat.

But there is good news. Thanks to CI’s Global Conservation Fund and CI partner Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI), this endangered primate has found a refuge deep inside the Congo River Basin. After seven years of planning and hard work, the 4,000 square kilometer Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve is set to open.

BonoboBonobos are known for their peaceful, cooperative, matriarchal society, and their remarkable intelligence. They were the last great ape to be discovered and are the least known great ape species.

One fact that is clear – bonobos are critical to the ecosystem of the area surrounding the Congo River – which comprises the world’s second largest rainforest. By eating forest fruits, along with leaves, bonobos help disperse seeds – and therefore play an important role in protecting and preserving the forest.

Local communities are also invested in the new Kokolopori Reserve. CI and BCI worked with 35 villages to create the Kokolopori Reserve Association. Villagers are already working to protect the wildlife and are learning about sustainable farming, which will protect the forest’s fragile ecosystem.

Learn more about our efforts to protect this gentle primate.

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