World Bonobo Day Date in the current year: February 14, 2024

World Bonobo Day World Bonobo Day is celebrated on February 14 every year. It was created to honor humans’ closest extant relatives and raise awareness of the endangered status of bonobos and the importance of their conservation.

The bonobo are one of the two ape species that make up the genus Pan, the other being the chimpanzee. Originally thought to be a subspecies of the chimpanzee and called the pygmy chimpanzee, the bonobo was recognized as a separate species in 1933 and given the name “bonobo” in the 1950s.

Bonobos and chimpanzees are thought to be the closest extant relatives to humans. Bonobos pass the mirror self-recognition test, which means that they have a high degree of self-awareness, communicate mainly through vocalizations, and can learn to use simple tools.

Bonobos inhabit forests in the Congo Basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country that has long suffered from political instability, corruption, and a lack of infrastructure. This means that very little attention has been paid to the conservation of its native species, so it is not surprising that the bonobo is classified as an endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature. Its population is estimated at between 29,500 and 50,000 individuals.

The main threats that bonobos face in the wild are habitat destruction and commercial poaching. Bonobo hunting for bushmeat increased dramatically during the First and Second Congo Wars, when armed militias were present even in remote protected areas. Because of the volatile political situation in the DRC, conservation organizations receive little support from the country’s government and have to rely on their own resources.

World Bonobo Day has been celebrated annually since 2017. It coincides with Valentine’s Day, and this is actually not a coincidence, but a deliberate choice. Bonobos are sometimes referred to as “make love, not war” apes because they are docile towards each other, playful, affectionate, very rarely aggressive, and are capable of empathy, compassion, kindness, altruism, sensitivity, and patience. In additional, sexual activity plays an important role in bonobo society, so it seems fitting that these loving and lovable animals are celebrated on the same day as lovers.

To celebrate World Bonobo Day, conservation organizations like Friends of Bonobos, the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, the Bonobo Conservation Society and Lola ya Bonobo, zoos and national parks, local communities, and other stakeholders host awareness and fundraising events to educate the general audience about these amazing apes that are, sadly, less known than chimpanzees, gorillas or orangutans, as well as to raise money for bonobo conservation.

You can observe World Bonobo Day by participating in an official event near you (if there are any) or joining a virtual event, learning more about bonobos, donating to or volunteering at a bonobo conservation organization, spreading awareness about bonobos and their conservation status in any way you can, and posting about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #WorldBonoboDay and #BonoboLove.

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