"If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin."
- Charles Darwin

Mar 22, 2009

Nightline Highlights Bonobo Crisis

A new Nightline report travels to the war ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo to interview Bila-Isia Inogwabini, the World Wildlife Fund researcher who discovered an unknown population of nearly 2,300 bonobos. Considering that some researchers estimate there to be fewer than 10,000 bonobos alive in the wild, this discovery was hailed as a major development in the effort to save the species from extinction.

I was introduced to Bila a few years ago while working on my article Behind Enemy Lines for Wildlife Conservation. At the time he was just preparing his expedition to the Lac Tumba region of Western Congo. His team's findings were subsequently published in the Cambridge University journal, Oryx (subscription required).

Watch the Nightline report below:

For additional bonobo related posts see Bonobo (Re)Visions, Bonobos "Red in Tooth and Claw" and my interview with bonobo researcher Frances White.

Nightline Highlights Bonobo CrisisSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Field Notes said...

Interesting claim he makes at the end of the segment. I don't know much about fossils, but isn't it possible that skeletons don't preserve as nicely in some climates than others? Perhaps the evidence for human origins outside of E. Africa hasn't been found because it doesn't exist, but NOT because it never existed. What do you think?

Eric Michael Johnson said...

Yes, I've been thinking about that claim for the better part of two days. I'd wondered about that before but the scientific consensus has long been that East Africa is where the Pan-Homo split occurred. I've considered this question at greater length in another post.

See Bonobos in the Garden of Eden.