Bonobos are protected by law and international trade is prohibited by their listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3). Ex-situ conservation measures cannot be relied upon as a safeguard for this species, as presently no self-sustaining captive population exists (2). The precise impact of the bushmeat trade is currently being investigated by the Bushmeat Working Group, part of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (7). The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) has recently recognised the urgent need to protect our closest relatives and has established a Great Ape Survival Project (GRASP) aimed at identifying the conservation initiatives required to secure the future of the apes and obtaining political support and funding to allow these to be achieved (8). The Bonobo Conservation Initiative is working in the Democratic Republic of Congo to raise awareness of the plight of this species (9). The main problem in terms of bonobo conservation is that they are only found in a single protected area (Salonga National Park), and even there they are intensively hunted both for their meat as well as for the making of charms (3). Concerted conservation efforts will therefore be required to secure the future of this fascinating ape.
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