The Wilhelma bonobos

The 16-strong bonobo group at Wilhelma is one of the largest to be found at any zoo. Bonobos live in a complicated social structure: large groups are always splitting up into smaller ones, only to join together again after a while. The new enclosure takes this so-called “fission-fusion social system” into special account. It can be divided into separate areas, but can also be joined up into one large enclosure. Bonobos are more closely related to us humans than the gorilla or orang-utan. It is the females who rule the roost amongst the bonobos. Often the adult females of a group, who are not related to each other, form coalitions, and can thus gang up on the physically stronger males.