GREAT APES Photo by Christian Lambrechts


Bonobos (Pan paniscus) are largely peaceful, frugivorous great apes found only in DR Congo. They live in highly complex, fission-fusion societies of up to 100 individuals with females having a higher social status than males. 



Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) can be found from southern Senegal across the forested belt north of the Congo River to western Uganda and western Tanzania. A patriarchal oriented society, chimpanzees groom each other daily, an activity which plays a role in their socialization.



Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla and Gorilla beringei) are ground-dwelling great apes occupying a variety of different habitats and elevations in the forests of central Africa. They are the largest living primates and spend half of their time feeding on a plant-based diet.



Native to Malaysia and Indonesia, orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii) are found only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. In Malay and Bahasa Indonesia, the phrase ‘orang hutan’ means ‘person of the forest’. These creatures spend most of their time in trees, and are more solitary than their African great ape cousins.



The A.P.E.S. portal is an online tool that provides real-time, visual representation of information about great apes, their habitats, populations, threats and conservation efforts around the world. It was initiated in 2005 as a joint effort between the Great Apes Section (SGA) of the Primate Specialist Group and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. In the first two years of the project the focus was on the compilation of ape population data and the development of an access and release policy. In 2007 the A.P.E.S. project was combined with an initiative by the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UN Environment WCMC, Cambridge, UK), the Arcus Foundation and the Jane Goodall Institute, which has evolved into the current platform. The website and database is hosted by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the dashboard is hosted by UN Environment WCMC.