If you are a primate lover planning to travel to Africa to explore some of the most exceptional primate species, then the Bonobos are what you cannot afford to miss on your safari. The Bonobos, scientifically known as Pan Paniscus were originally referred as the Pygmy/Dwarf/gracile chimpanzees. These exceptional creatures have often been mistaken for chimpanzees, but they are different much as they are all sub-species of the Genus “Pan” and share 98% of their DNA with mankind. The Bonobos are eminent for their comparatively longer legs, dark face, pink lips and their tail-tuft in through maturity and scattered long hair on their heads.
These fascinating mammals are found in an area of 500,000 square kilometers (190,000 square miles) of the great Congo basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the Heart of Africa. This means that if you desire to discover these exceptional primates in the wild, you will only have to do it within this wonderful African country. They are listed under the IUCN Red List of endangered species and currently their number is estimated between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals. Therefore, this article brings you some of the spectacular places to see the Wild Bonobos within the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve
This Bonobo Reserve is situated in Tshuapa district in the Equatorial Province and was established in 2009 as a Reserve by the Government of Democratic Republic of Congo. This site is a home to the largest population of Bonobos and there are currently four habituated Bonobo groups that can be tracked daily by tourists. Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve covers an area of 4785 square kilometers and is a haven to more than 1000 Wild Bonobos.
Lomako Yokokala Faunal Reserve
The magnificent Lomako Yokokala Faunal Reserve (RFLY) is one of the fascinating places where you will see the Bonobos. This Reserve is part of the Maringa Lopori Wamba Forest landscape (MLW) that covers an area of 74,000 square kilometers (29,000 square miles) and situated in North-central Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the Lomako Yokokala Faunal Reserve was created in 2006 and spans at 3625 square kilometers/1400 square miles.
This site was created in 2002 at the Southern edge of Salonga National Park, at the southern side of River Lokoro mainly to conserve the endangered Bonobos and elephant populations. Much as the Bonobos are the stars of the Show in this site, other mammal species exist and they include the Red river hogs, Bongos, elephants, buffaloes, Bongos, Sitatungas, leopards, several species of duikers, the Mangabeys and the Angola colobus among others.
The Landscape of this site covers an area of 126,440 square kilometers, shared by two countries – the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville). Besides being a home to the Bonobos, several primates-including Angolan Colobus, the Black Mangabey, the Red-tailed monkeys, the DeBrazza’s monkeys and the Allen’s Swamp monkeys call this site home.
Besides the Bonobos in the wild, tourists taking safaris in DR Congo can see the Bonobos within the Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary, located just 90 minutes drive from Kinshasa City Center. This sanctuary is the only Bonobos Sanctuary in the World and currently only 60 orphaned Bonobos are found within the place.
In conclusion, if you are someone that enjoys exploring exceptional wildlife and destinations, then Lac Tumba, LuiKotale, Lomako Yokokala Faunal Reserve and the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve must not miss on your bucket list because they shelter populations of Bonobos in the wild.