American actress Ashley Judd returns to Congo to study bonobos

Three apes sitting and interacting with each other
Bonobo family, photo: Jeff McCurry via Canva

American Actress Ashley Judd said on Wednesday she would return to the forest in Congo to spend time studying the endangered bonobos.

“I’m returning to the forest this week where I will live the bonobos’ reality once more,” the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) goodwill ambassador told reporters. Judd was speaking at a media event in Kinshasa, the capital of Congo, nearly a year after breaking her leg looking for bonobos in a rainforest in the country.

She said that because the great apes are peaceful and egalitarian animals, they can teach humans how to create a society where everyone is equal. “By using the bonobos as our model, our symbol, we can dream of an egalitarian society, a society free from violence which is our reality at the moment,” she said.

“This is what Congo can give to the world if we save the bonobos. We can protect the Congolese bonobos and share their evolution path with the world,” Judd added.

Bonobos are listed as an endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They’re only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Bonobo Conservation Initiative estimates 10,000 to 20,000 are currently left in the wild.

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