Pan paniscus

Also called the pygmy chimp, the bonobo is slightly smaller than the common chimpanzee. Sharing more than 98% of its DNA with humans, the bonobo is our closest living relative. Like humans, bonobos live in family groups and are highly intelligent. They often stand upright on two feet as we do. Bonobos are capable of making and using tools, a characteristic that once distinguished humans from other animals.

  • Like other non-human apes, bonobos have longer arms than legs to make traveling in the trees easier.
  • Bonobos create and maintain social bonds through sexual behavior.
  • Breaking and folding branches, bonobos make nests in the trees to sleep in at night.
  • Bonobos suffer from the bushmeat trade, the poaching and selling of wildlife as meat.


Project Saving Species funds funneled through the Ape Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) have been directed towards work with The Bonobo and Congo Biodiversity Initiative (BCBI). BCBI studies and protects bonobos in Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo through ecological research and monitoring, anti-poaching support and guard training, and community assistance.

Coltan mining for cell phones actually effects bonobos even more than gorillas.  We encourage you to bring any old cell phones you may have around the house and drop them in one of our cell phone recycling bins. Cell phones contain an ore called Coltan that is mined in gorilla and bonobo habitat in Africa. Recycling cell phones reduced the demand to mine more Coltan and helps preserve habitat.

Fact File

Species @ Risk Image
Species Survival Plan Image
pronunciationPronunciation: buh-NOH-boh
where to see themWhere to see them: Jungle Trails
heightHeight: 2.3 to 2.8 ft
weightWeight: 68 to 86 lbs
life expectancyLife Expectancy: 31 yrs
habitatHabitat: Tropical rainforest
dietDiet: Fruit, seeds, leaves, flowers, fungi, eggs, and small animals
exclamationRisk Status: Species at Risk (IUCN—Endangered)