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Bonobo (Pan paniscus) Fact Sheet, 2009   Tags: africa, ape, bonobo, conservation, endangered, mammal, primate, pygmy chimpanzee, san diego zoo, sdzg, wildlife  

Bonobo (Pan paniscus)
Last Updated: Dec 28, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Bonobo (Pan paniscus) Fact Sheet, 2009


Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Primates

Family: Homindiae

Genus: Pan

Species: Pan paniscus - bonobo

Body Weight
Male: 39 kg (86 lb)
Female: 31 kg (68 lb)

Body Length
Both sexes: 100-800 mm (2.3-2.7 ft)

Black body hair; long and fine

Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology

Central Democratic Republic of the Congo

Lowland rainforest
Other forest types

IUCN Status

CITES Appendix

U.S. Endangered Species Act

Population in Wild
Minimum of 15,000-20,000, up to 50,000

Walk on knuckles on ground. Also move through trees. Wade in water. Can walk bipedally.

Activity Cycle

Social Groups
Communicate through hand and foot gestures; also, vocalizations. Sexual behavior has social and reproductive functions.

Omnivorous. Fruit, leaves, seeds, some insects and small vertebrates (snakes, shrews, flying squirrels)


Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights

Sexual Maturity
Thought to be around 9 years of age

231-244 days (sometimes longer)

Interbirth Interval
4-6 years

Birth Weight
2-3 lbs.

Age at Weaning
4-5 years of age

Wild: 40-50 years
Captivity: Up to 60 years

Feature Facts

  • Similar ecology to chimpanzees
  • Build nests in fruit-bearing trees
  • Grooming behavior and sexual behavior important in social dynamics
  • Extremely playful, even adults
  • Fruit is important to their diet
  • Few remaining in the wild

About This Fact Sheet

© 2009 San Diego Zoo Global. Minor update 2013.

How to cite: Bonobo (Pan paniscus) Fact Sheet, 2009. c2009-2013. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd].
(Note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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