Portraits of Young Bonobos

In my last post, I wanted you to introduce you to the magical being that is the bonobo and to the wonderful sanctuary that has taken on the mission of caring for orphaned bonobos. In this post I want to exhibit the stunning similarity between these creatures and us humans.

These juvenile bonobos are kept separate from the babies and from the adults who have integrated into regular bonobo societies. Once they’re mature enough they too will be released into the semi-wild enclosures. 

Many animal lovers do not doubt that animals have a soul, a consciousness far more complex than science is able to prove. I love animals, but my appreciation for apes is very different. Anyone who sees or interacts with them for the first time cannot help but feel awestruck at their uncanny humanness: the curl of their fingers as they grip an object, the sounds of glee they make when they play, or the expressions on their faces when they ponder.

I swear they like to mess with people. These wires are mildly electric. 

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It does not surprise me that one group is pushing for captive chimpanzees to be recognized as individuals deserving of basic rights (NYT). Some people look towards the stars and wonder if there are other sentient beings in this universe. I look at the great apes and think that these alien seekers are looking in the wrong place: there are already several separate humanoid races on this planet!

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I’ve always been a nature lover, but I remember very clearly the first time I felt the value of conservation resonate deeply within me when I was trekking with mountain gorillas in Rwanda. I realized that with apes, there was more than the common arguments for species’ conservation such as the ecological impact, the responsibility of humans or the intrinsic value of nature: to let them go extinct would be a tragic genocide.

LLC_1574 - Version 2Some bonobos, having been rescued from living as pets in possibly abusive homes, exhibit strange behavior. I’m not sure whether this behavior is normal, but the bonobo here liked pouring dirt over himself. 

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A happy bonobo baby with its mother. 

An old soul.


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