Memphis Zoo keeper Sandi Shoemaker captured this moment with Mobali, a three-month-old baby bonobo.
A baby bonobo was born at the Memphis Zoo on May 12 to parents Kiri and Mofana. The sex of the baby is still not known, but zoo staff will determine the gender in the coming weeks.
According to Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs, “This is a species that needs a lot of help, so every birth is significant. Bonobos are still very rare in the wild and in captivity. They are a high conservation priority, and Mo and Kiri are a good genetic match.”
In the wild, bonobos inhabit the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Currently, the IUCN has categorized bonobos as endangered. Civil war in the Congo has hugely impacted bonobo society, fragmenting their population to isolated pockets and limiting their genetic diversity.
To learn more about bonobos, see our bonobo facts article.
Meet our featured animal, the bonobo!
Here are five facts about bonobos:
- Bonobos share 98.5% of our DNA.
- In captivity, bonobos have learned how to communicate in human languages, use tools, and play music.
- Although they resemble chimpanzees, bonobos have the ability to walk bipedally, or on two legs, more easily and for longer amounts of time than chimps.
- Bonobos live harmoniously in matriarchal groups of up to 100 members.
- Bonobos communicate with high-pitched barking sounds.
Photo: Marian Brickner
A female baby bonobo was born November 6 to Kuni of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Delfi Messinger, the Director of Animal Programs, said of the 24-year-old mother, “She seems so proud, and shows her baby to the ‘aunties’ in the group, as well as to her human caretakers.”
In the wild, bonobos live in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sharing 98.5% of the same DNA as humans, they embody a profound intelligence and a deep emotional capacity. To learn more about bonobos, see Animal Fact Guide’s article: Bonobo.
To learn more about Kuni and her new baby, visit Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.