?Hippie chimps? are fastly disappearing | india | Hindustan Times
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?Hippie chimps? are fastly disappearing

Even as Congolese villagers devise novel ways to snare the fast-disappearing bonobo, scientists are racing to save the gentle ?hippie chimp? from extinction.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 12:26 IST
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Even as Congolese villagers devise novel ways to snare the fast-disappearing bonobo, scientists are racing to save the gentle “hippie chimp” from extinction. The bonobo (pan paniscus) is closely related to man and known for resolving squabbles through sex rather than violence.

It’s also prized by some Congolese for its tasty meat. The wiry, wizened-faced chimps are being killed in treetop nests in Congo’s vast rain forest, their only natural habitat in the world, by villagers who do not seem to know how fast their prey is disappearing.

“Bonobos are an icon for peace and love, the world’s ‘hippie chimps,”’ said Sally Coxe of the Washington-based Bonobo Conservation Initiative. “To let them die off would be a catastrophe.” Bonobos are known for greeting rival groups with genital handshakes and sensual body rubs. Their spats are swiftly settled often with a French kiss and a quick round of sex.

Female bonobos give birth to a single infant only once every five years, making the species especially vulnerable. As few as 5,000 bonobos may now remain in Congo, down from an estimated 100,000 in 1984, according to primatologist Ino Guabini of WWF.