Congo Bonobos

Bonobos also known as the Pygmy or Dwarf chimpanzees are exceptional primates with so many interesting facts worth discovering during a safari in Africa. Bonobos are great Apes-scientifically known as Pan Paniscus and are close relative to the Common chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes).

These Primates were discovered in 1929 as the last great apes to be scientifically described and are continuously mistaken for the Common Chimpanzees yet are different and totally new and interestingly, they are actually native to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Specifically, the Bonobos are found within the Southern and western side of the Congo River. Their numbers are currently estimated at between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals in the whole World and mainly occupy the lowland rain forest. Efforts to study and survey the Bonobos over the past years have been barred by the remote nature of their habitat as well as their patched distribution and the years of civil unrest within the Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are several extraordinary characteristics that set the Bonobos apart and these include; their bodies are more human-like in that they have smaller and rounder heads, and have longer rear legs. The creatures have difference in weight between the female and male Bonobos and are also able to stand more upright like humans. Interestingly, these Apes are identified by their red lips. Just like the Common Chimpanzees, these primates share about 98.7% of their DNA with humans, making them our closest relatives than the gorillas.

These exceptional great Apes are characterized by female dominance but the young male Bonobos are more dominant over the female ones. Surprisingly, homosexual behaviors are mostly common among the female Bonobos, which they always use to generate strong emotional bonds and maintain social dominance over the male Bonobos. Another interesting fact about the female Bonobos is that they keep relationships and settle conflicts with their partners through sex.

Average male Bonobos weigh about 39 kilograms/85 pounds while the females weigh around 30 kilograms/65 pounds. In terms of height, male Bonobos measure up to 1.2 meters/4 feet while their female counterparts measure up to 1 meter/3.5 feet. They are very peaceful and matriarchal mammals although aggression is spread through play and sex. This doesn’t mean that their lives are entirely violence or conflict free, because just like other primates when two groups encounter one another, they engage in serious fights which can lead to injuries or more seriously to death.

These Primates are mainly frugivorous (depend on fruits) while they can also feed on other plant parts such as leaves and shoots. Their gestation period is about 7.5 months (32.5 weeks) and usually give birth to one baby although twin cases also happen. Bonobos can live up to 60 years in Captivity, which is exceptional of other primate species. These creatures can be seen in Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve, Lomako Yokokala Faunal Reserve, the Lac Tumba and Lui Kotale in the Wild while Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary (90 minutes west of Kinshasa, about 8 kilometers off Matadi road) the of the only destination in the whole world where these mammals can be seen in captivity

In conclusion, the Bonobos-Pan Paniscus are interesting primate species native to the southern and western side of Congo River within the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although mistaken for the Common Chimpanzees, a safari to this country will make you understand and differentiate the primates.

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