Bonobo: ‘Forgotten’ Ape Threatened By Human Activity And Forest Loss
The most detailed range-wide assessment of the bonobo (Pan paniscus) ever conducted has revealed that this poorly known and endangered great ape is quickly losing space in a world with growing human populations.
The loss of usable habitat is attributed to both forest fragmentation and poaching, according to a new study by University of Georgia, University of Maryland, the Wildlife Conservation Society, ICCN (Congolese Wildlife Authority), African Wildlife Foundation, Zoological Society of Milwaukee, World Wildlife Fund, Max Planck Institute, Lukuru Foundation, University of Stirling, Kyoto University, and other groups.
Using data from nest counts and remote sensing imagery, the research team found that the bonobo — one of humankind’s closest living relatives — avoids areas of high human activity and forest fragmentation. As little as 28 percent of the bonobo’s range remains suitable, according to the model developed by the researchers in the study, which now appears in the December edition of Biodiversity and Conservation.
"This assessment is a major step towards addressing the substantial information gap regarding the conservation status of bonobos across their entire range," said lead author Dr. Jena R. Hickey of Cornell University and the University of Georgia. "The results of the study demonstrate that human activities reduce the amount of effective bonobo habitat and will help us identify where to propose future protected areas for this great ape."