Jun 18

It’s a YES for the boNObo!

Along with chimpanzees, the bonobo is man’s closest living relative. Only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this highly intelligent and endangered species is unique. 

Photo of an adult and infant bonobo sleeping

Adult and infant bonobo sleeping

Bonobos are particularly sociable and peaceful primates. One remarkable feature of bonobo society is the low level of aggression between individuals, thought to be due to the highly complex social system. 

Bonobos mutual grooming to reinforce social bonds

Bonobos mutual grooming to reinforce social bonds

Unlike chimpanzees, bonobos don’t form male-dominated societies. Instead, females form strong bonds and male bonobos will often defer to them. One of the most striking and unique feature of bonobos is the use of sex as a method of communication. Bonobos use sex to diffuse situations and create bonds, both with their own sex as well as the opposite sex. 

Photo of a male bonobo in forest habitat

Male bonobo in forest habitat

Five fab facts:

Close up of a bonobo

Close up of a bonobo

To find out more about the bonobo, check out ARKive’s images and videos.

Learn more about bonobo conservation through UNEP’s Great Ape Survival Project and the Bonobo Conservation Initiative.

Ruth Hendry, ARKive Media Researcher