Bonobo Taxonomy

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Studying the bonobo has given researchers much insight into our closest living relative. Unfortunately, according to a number of different journal articles, the bonobo is on the verge of extinction. However, in order to understand the conservation issues associated with the bonobo, we must first be able to classify the animal with respect to its families and groups. The bonobo is classified according to the taxonomic hierarchy. Bonobos belong to the superfamily Hominoidea that includes apes and humans, and the family of great apes. The subfamily bonobos belong to is the Ponginae with the genus Pan. The genus Pan includes primates such as the bonobos and chimpanzees. The bonobo is known as the species called paniscus, while the chimpanzee is troglodytes. Finally, the evolutionary characteristics of the genus Pan include "knuckle walking" and "thin teeth" (Mcgrew 4). Now that we have an idea of the classification of the bonobo we can begin to understand why it must be protected. Around 10,000 to 50,000 bonobos are found in the humid forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, this is only an estimate. According to Grahm-Rowe Duncan (2004), not a single bonobo was spotted in one of the largest surveys of the Congo; making the bonobo an endangered species. Some factors that contribute to the endangerment of this species include habitat destruction and poachers killing the animal for its bush meat. The latter factor is attributed to the civil war that is currently going on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and its border conflicts with Rawanda. This has created large hunting pressures. Rebel groups and poachers find it easy to hide in the protected parks and kill the bonobo to make money from their bush meat, while others simply kill the animal to survive (Duncan, 2004). As a result, the bonobo is on the verge of extinction and conservation efforts to save this animal must be increased. Several conservation efforts throughout Africa...
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