News of the WeekConservation

Conflict in Congo Threatens Bonobos and Rare Gorillas

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Science  31 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5462, pp. 2386-2387
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5462.2386

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The war that has gripped the Democratic Republic of Congo for the past 18 months is taking a devastating toll on great apes. The front lines cut through the heart of the range of bonobos, the so-called pygmy chimpanzees famous for their language-learning ability in captivity and their complex social behavior in the wild. Data are scarce and largely anecdotal because most researchers have left the country, but local conservationists have been warning over the past few weeks that both bonobos and gorillas are severely threatened in parts of the country.