Could bonobos go extinct because of malaria?

Humans are not the only species of primate which can get ill or die as a result of malaria – an illness carried by mosquitos. The problem is, that while humans have developed ways to fight the infection, and many humans live far from where they could get bitten, the Chimpanzees gorillas orangutans and Bonobos all live in hot humid rainforests which are perfect breeding places.

Bonobos live the other side of the Congo river to chimpanzees, and while a relatively recent species to appear, they are very different to chimpanzees – make love not war, the hippy priimate.

This becomes a greater problem when humans have already reduced these species populations so dramatically.

One bonobo population was found to have developed an immunity to the illness, but unfortunately this has not been discovered anywhere else.

Should bonobos have got this condition naturally, it would have been fine – while it may have killed a small percentage, overall they would have been fine. Unfortunately, we have pushed them so close to extinction, that in many areas they cannot afford these extra deaths from malaria.

Up until recently, while infection had been noted in other great ape species, bonobos had not been found to suffer from the condition, but now we know better.

The issue is that, with humans having reduced populations through direct hunting and deforestation, the loss of any individual can have a far greater impact on the local population.

More people going to see this species in the wild would help save them, as it will give them value to the local population. We hope to add links that you can use to arrange your wild travel as soon as possible.

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