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.
Did You Know?
Apes, Not Monkeys: Bonobos, along with chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas, are great apes.
- 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.
- Listed as an endangered species by the IUCN, there are estimated to be no more than 20,000 and potentially as low as 5,000 individuals remaining in the wild.
- Bonobos are one of the few matriarchal animal societies in the world and the only matriarchal great ape species.
- Bonobos were only recognized as its own species (i.e., something other than a type of chimpanzee) in 1929.
- Bonobos are xenophilic, or “loving of strangers.” This behavior is rare in the animal kingdom, making them one of the very few animal species that has been recorded openly and willingly sharing food and shelter with strangers (both in Zoos and in the wild).