Bonobos, our ape cousins, love peace. Unlike chimpanzees, also our close relatives, bonobos are known to resolve conflict through sex instead of aggression. They kiss, they caress, and females display genito-genital rubbing (also called G-G rubbing) to communicate, bond, and reconcile.
But capturing these elusive and endangered apes on camera is not easy.
In the north of the TL2 landscape in the Democratic Republic of Congo, named after the three large rivers it encompasses, Tshuapa – Lomami – Lualaba (from west to east), researchers from the Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation set up several camera traps between April and July 2014, and recovered some rare footage.
In one of the videos, bonobos screech loudly, and run about. One female bonobo even kicks and displays her anger towards another female bonobo.
“We are getting some of the first ever wild footage of bonobos living as they normally do without any interference from humans or presence of humans,” Jo Thompson, bonobo-expert and President of the Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, told mongabay.com.
Based on what the video footage shows, Thompson deduced that the bout of aggression could be a tumescent female bonobo (bonobo with a genital swelling that signals receptivity to mating), charging an anestrus female (bonobo with a flaccid genitalia).
“Just given social dynamics, the tumescent female would be considered ‘attractive’ in that phase, while the anestrus female is not,” Thompson said. “But…without knowing the individuals or their hierarchical relationship, I can only respond to what I see.”
The video also features a mother and a child, and ends with a bonobo quickly running across the camera with a tree branch, possibly an excited adolescent male, according to Thompson.
In another part of DR Congo, south of the TL2 landscape, a bonobo was spooked by a camera.
These camera traps are part of an extensive wildlife monitoring survey in the TL2 landscape initiated by Terese Hart and her husband, John Hart, in 2007. Some other camera trap videos featuring African forest elephants, Congo peacocks, and the lesula, a monkey recently discovered by the Lakuru team and known only from the TL2 landscape in DR Congo, can be viewed on their website. In fact, a leopard attempts to click a selfie too.
This article was first published by Mongabay.com on 29 Dec 2014.
Share on social media:
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should the export of elephants to China be banned? [2000 Views]
- POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers be allowed to continue? [1376 Views]
- POLL: Should the slaughter of Borneo’s pygmy elephants be stopped? [1086 Views]
- New year, new birds: 10 newly-recognised species [1041 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [924 Views]
- POLL: Should Arab sheikhs be allowed to hunt bustards? [912 Views]
- New Estimate: There are Over 18,000 Bird Species on Earth [716 Views]
- POLL: Should neonicotinoid pesticides be banned to save our bees? [710 Views]
- Kissing cows are to blame for bovine TB – so stop this bloody badger cull [693 Views]
- POLL: Should orca entertainment shows be universally banned? [693 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- White Killer Whale Adult Spotted for First Time in Wild [41995 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16711 Views]
- POLL: Should the annual Canadian seal hunt be banned? [13925 Views]
- POLL: Should fur farming be banned in the European Union? [13714 Views]
- POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [11108 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [9813 Views]
- POLL: Should driven grouse-shooting be banned? [8542 Views]
- POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? [8295 Views]
- POLL: Should black bears be killed for Royal Guards’ fur caps? [8033 Views]
- POLL: Should China’s dog meat festival be banned? [7356 Views]