It wasn't all bad
The government of Congo has teamed up with U.S. agencies to set aside more than 11,000 square miles of the Central African nation as a sanctuary for the endangered bonobo, the great ape that is most closely related to humans. Totaling 1 percent of Congo, the Sankuru Nature Reserve is larger than the state of Massachusetts. Bonobos have been decimated by villagers who believe that rubbing a baby with the creature’s ashes will strengthen the infant. The ape’s current population is estimated at between 5,000 and 60,000. Bonobos are often called “the peaceful ape,” and live in a matriarchal society in which female leaders settle conflicts without violence.
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