They share 98.4 percent of our genetic makeup

September 8th, 2007

The bonobos weren’t that interested in me the day I visited the zoo, but I still managed to get a somewhat OK photo of them. I’ve been there on days when the baby bonobo would follow my movements from the other side of the glass.

Bonobos, also called pygmy chimpanzees, share more genetic makeup with humans than they do with gorillas! Bonobos are peaceful great apes, with females carrying the highest ranks. They live in the rain forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The bonobo population is decreasing. According to the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) , no one knows for certain how many bonobos remain in the wild, but estimates are from 5,000 to 50,000. The two greatest threats to bonobos are hunting (selling for bushmeat) and habitat destruction.

BCI has joined local partners in the Congo to address the threats facing bonobos. They are trying to implement education and awareness programs and agricultural support programs to stop habitat destruction and hunting at a local level. You can make a contribution or volunteer at BCI.

One Response to “They share 98.4 percent of our genetic makeup”

  1. m on September 9, 2007 8:29 am

    Interesting how closely related our genetics are, but so sad that they are disappearing. I love the bottom pic of the baby bonobo — so cute!!

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