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OU on the BBC: Saving Species: Series 3, Episode 21

Updated Tuesday 22nd January 2013

Saving Species reports from the Congo basin on the plight of bonobos.

Bonobos Creative commons image Icon leamamonie under CC-BY-NC-SA licence under Creative-Commons license Bonobos are a great ape, related to chimpanzees, and are found in the forest of the Congo Basin of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The bonobos found within Salonga National Park are under threat from an increase in hunting for the bushmeat trade.

While local villagers historically have hunted and eaten many animals found living in the forests, their impact on the bonobos is not significant.

But with the bonobos being targetted by organised hunters from outside the Park, the meat is being sold at markets well beyond the forest and is being seen as a "luxury consumption" item, fetching a high price.

Saving Species has spent time amongst the bonobos, the villagers and the biologists to find out what can be done to try and protect them from the increasing threats.

The dragon tree obtained its name due to the red resin it produces which is called "dragon's blood" and has been used over the centuries to dye clothes and stain wood - including violins.

The tree is a native species of Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. There are only one or two native wild dragon trees left on Madeira and Michael Scott finds out from local conservationists what is being done to increase the number of trees in the wild from original seed.

Also in the programme:

  • News from around the world with regular news reporter, Kelvin Boot
  • An update on the activities of the Open University's iSpot. A new iSpot app has been launched, making it possible to photograph wildlife, upload it to iSpot and get help with identifications while you’re still out in the field.

Listen to Saving Species

You can listen to this episode of Saving Species on BBC Radio 4 at 11:00am on Tuesday 22 January 2013. More information and a link to listen again can be found on the Radio 4 website.

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