New African reserve protects bonobos, stores carbon.

AuthorHerro, Alana
PositionEYE ON EARTH - Sankuru Nature Reserve

In November, conservation groups and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) established a new reserve to protect the bonobo, a great ape found only in the DRC's vast tropical forests. "This is a monumental step towards saving a significant portion of the world's second largest rainforest, of critical importance to the survival not only of humankind's closest great ape relative, the bonobo, but to all life on Earth given the increasing threat of climate change," said Sally Jewell Coxe, president of the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI), a partner in creating the reserve.


The Sankuru Nature Reserve, at 30,569 square kilometers, is larger than the U.S. state of Massachusetts and lies in the heart of the Congo Basin, Africa's largest rainforest. Recent warfare in the DRC triggered a serious humanitarian and environmental crisis, resulting in organized hunting in bonobo habitat that is threatening the apes. "The people of Sankuru rely on the forest for every aspect of their livelihood," Coxe said. "Helping them to develop economic alternatives to the bushmeat trade is one of the most urgent priorities."

Bonobos, the most recently discovered great...

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