The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s bonobo family just welcomed a new addition.
A male bonobo named Max was born in the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 8, at the zoo in Powell.
This is the fourth baby for mother “Lady,” who is caring for the newborn in the company of the other bonobos in her group. Bonobos live in dynamic groups and confirmation of the baby’s sire awaits the results of genetic paternity testing.
Max is the 15th bonobo born at the zoo since it received its first bonobos in 1990 in conjunction with the Species Survival Plan for this endangered ape. There are only seven facilities in North America caring for bonobos and of those facilities the Columbus Zoo has the second largest group with 17 bonobos.
The bonobo is the smallest of the great apes. Females give birth to a single baby after a gestation period of about 8½ months.
Bonobos were the last of the great apes to be discovered and are the rarest with only 5,000-50,000 living in the equatorial forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, zoo officials say. The primary threat to the endangered bonobo is human behavior, mainly habitat destruction caused by logging. A secondary threat is the hunting of bonobos for bushmeat for native consumption and for sale to logging companies and markets.
The Columbus Zoo is a platinum member of the Ape Taxon Advisory Group Conservation Initiative. The initiative funds field conservation projects including combating illegal wildlife trade in central Africa and funding for sanctuaries that care for animals and also play a key role in law enforcement efforts and conservation education.
Recognizing the desperate situation bonobos face in the wild, the Columbus Zoo also supports the Congolese association ABC – Les Amis des Bonobos du Congo (Friends of Bonobos in Congo). ABC operates Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary, which has advocated for wildlife conservation in Kinshasa for more than 10 years.
Lady and Max have access to the bonobo indoor habitat so, though there is no set schedule to view mom and baby, guests visiting the zoo may catch a glimpse of the two in Congo Expedition.
Information for this story was provided by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.