Why we love bonobos

You’d be forgiven for not knowing what a bonobo is. After all, the smallest of the great apes is often mistaken for the common chimpanzee, but the bonobo, or ‘pygmy chimp’ has its own unique qualities. Here is why we think they should get more attention:

 

They are one of our closest living relatives

Along with chimpanzees, bonobos are our closest evolutionary relatives. That means that at some point around four to six million years ago, we had a common ancestor. Why wouldn’t we be fascinated with a creature that shares 99 per cent of our DNA?

 

Bonobos like peace, not war

Primatologist Frans de Waal dubbed the bonobo the “make love, not war” species. As well as being very social animals, bonobos have been observed being very romantic with each other – holding hands, gazing into each other’s eyes and kissing deeply. Primatologists have described bonobos as being empathetic, patient and kind.

 

Their population is seriously threatened

Bonobos have been listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1996. It is estimated that there could be as few as 10,000 bonobos left in the wild due to unprotected habitat and illegal activity such as poaching. They need our help!