, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 215–219 | Cite as

Bonobos apparently search for a lost member injured by a snare

  • Nahoko Tokuyama
  • Besao Emikey
  • Batuafe Bafike
  • Batuafe Isolumbo
  • Bahanande Iyokango
  • Mbangi N. Mulavwa
  • Takeshi FuruichiEmail author
News and Perspectives


This is the first report to demonstrate that a large mixed-sex party of bonobos travelled a long distance to return to the location of a snare apparently to search for a member that had been caught in it. An adult male was caught in a metallic snare in a swamp forest at Wamba, Luo Scientific Reserve, Democratic Republic of the Congo. After he escaped from the snare by breaking a sapling to which the snare was attached, other members of his party assisted him by unfastening the snare from lianas in which it was caught and licked his wound and tried to remove the snare from his fingers. In the late afternoon, they left him in the place where he was stuck in the liana and travelled to the dry forest where they usually spend the night. The next morning, they travelled back 1.8 km to revisit the location of the injured male. When they confirmed that he was no longer there, they returned to the dry forest to forage. This was unlike the usual ranging patterns of the party, suggesting that the bonobos travelled with the specific intention of searching for this injured individual who had been left behind. The incident described in this report likely occurred because bonobos usually range in a large mixed-sex party and try to maintain group cohesion as much as possible.


Pan paniscus Wamba Snare Group cohesion Search lost member 



We sincerely thank the Research Center for Ecology and Forestry, Ministry of Scientific Research, DRC and African Wildlife Foundation for helping our field research. We thank Dr. Chie Hashimoto, Mr. Gaku Ohashi, Dr. Koichiro Zamma, and Dr. Kazuhiko Hosaka for giving us valuable information. We thank Dr. Janet Nackoney and Dr. Andrew MacIntosh for their English editing and helpful comments. We give special thanks to Dr. Tetsuya Sakamaki for his great contribution to continuous observation of study groups and camp management at Wamba. We were supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Grants-in-aid for Scientific Research (22255007 to Furuichi), JSPS Asia-Africa Science Platform Program (2009-8 to Furuichi), JSPS Institutional Program for Young Researcher Overseas Visits (#37 to Primate Research Institute Kyoto University), Japan Ministry of the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (D-1007 to Furuichi), US Fish and Wildlife Service Assistance Award (96200-0-G017 to African Wildlife Foundation), and AS-HOPE project (AS-23-004 to Tokuyama).


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nahoko Tokuyama
    • 1
  • Besao Emikey
    • 2
  • Batuafe Bafike
    • 2
  • Batuafe Isolumbo
    • 2
  • Bahanande Iyokango
    • 2
  • Mbangi N. Mulavwa
    • 2
  • Takeshi Furuichi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Primate Research Institute, Kyoto UniversityInuyamaJapan
  2. 2.Research Center for Ecology and Forestry, Ministry of Scientific ResearchMabaliDemocratic Republic of the Congo

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