Actress and activist Ashley Judd has joined the Bonobo Conservation Initiative to help protect bonobos – “the world’s least-recognized great ape, and humanity’s closest living relative.” The bonobo is an endangered species that lives exclusively in Africa’s Congo Basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Currently, only an estimated 15,000 bonobos still remain in the wild, and poaching and habitat loss are threatening the existence of these beautiful apes.
“I fell in love with these amazing animals a few years ago when I narrated ‘The Bonobo Connection,’” Judd shared in the Care2 petition launched to help the species. “I learned that bonobo societies are matriarchal, and unlike our other closest relatives, chimpanzees, are incredibly peaceful. Female-led groups of bonobos are highly empathic, and use affection rather than aggression to resolve conflict and to strengthen social bonds. It is a tragic irony that this peaceful species is only found in one of the most war-ravaged countries on Earth.”
After years of conflict, Congo is now rebuilding. This also means a better future for the apes and “groundbreaking efforts” are underway to protect and study the fascinating species that is the bonobo.
At the moment, the DRC is considering how best to manage the habitat of bonobos. The natural home of these animals must be protected by maintaining its current logging moratorium, rejecting oil drilling, expanding their protected habitat, and supporting community-led conservation efforts. The DRC has to be strongly encouraged to make sure that all those measures are taken, so that bonobos can thrive, not fight for survival.
As Judd writes, she will be visiting the DRC in the near future in order to see bonobos in the wild and meet with conservation leaders and government representatives. “I would be honored to deliver your petition signature and add your voice to the global call to protect our sister species,” she adds.
Click here to sign the petition urging DRC’s Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism to make every effort to protect the invaluable bonobo.
Image source: NauticalVoyager/Pixabay