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Home // Research grants // Our worldwide projects // Bonobos in Democratic Republic of Congo

Bonobos in Democratic Republic of Congo

It is thought that there may be only 30,000 bonobos left on our planet, making them a truly endangered species. They are faced with a number of threats that are growing daily, leading them towards extinction.

The problem

Bonobos evolved south of the Congo River, and common chimpanzees to the north.

The endangered bonobo, our closest living relative, is found in the tropical forests of the central Congo Basin.

The forests these great apes are found in cover an area which is 500,00km2. This makes it hard to monitor these animals and the grave threats which they face.

There is vast illegal logging in the area, as well as bushmeat hunting which threatens the bonobos directly. To help protect this highly endangered species, we need to monitor the area as strategically as possible, with locals leading the way.

The solution

Using a great technology called Cybertracker, our teams living in the area are able to collect data electronically on where the animals are, and where they see any evidence of human encroachment. This means they are better placed to target their scare conservation resources where they will be most effective.

In the next two years our local community scouts and monitoring teams will be trained up in new reporting methods using Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART). This approach will help the team leaders back at HQ manage the team, and the data they are collecting, more effectively.

As they collect better data and acquire a better understanding of what is happening in their forests, the local conservationists will be able to put in place anti-poaching measures. Not only will they build morale and momentum but they will be taking the best steps towards saving a species.

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