In March 2022, Friends of Bonobos of the Congo returned 14 bonobos to the wild in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It's just the second time in history the endangered great ape has been rewilded, and both times by Friends of Bonobos. The conservation organization operates the world’s only bonobo sanctuary. Watch the video to see how it was done! The bonobos were released to Ekolo ya Bonobo Community Reserve, a 120,000-acre protected area. The released bonobos, former victims of wildlife traffickers, were rehabilitated at Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary near Kinshasa, DRC. The matriarch, Maya, as well as her two sons and daughter, were among the 14 rewilded bonobos. Maya was the second bonobo rescued by sanctuary founder Claudine André more than 25 years ago. Bonobos share 98.7% of our DNA and are humans’ closest living relatives among the great apes, along with chimpanzees. They are endangered because of the illegal bushmeat trade and habitat destruction. Bonobo groups are led by a dominant female - the only ape species with this social hierarchy.
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Photos and Video by Cinta Garai, Leon Haberkorn & Zanna Clay. Music "Umlungu" by John Bartman [CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)]
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