3 Dec 2013
KS obtained approval from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, exchanged transfer agreements with the San Diego Zoo, and took the necessary official steps to import the bonobos. The bonobos arrived at KS on November 27, 2013, and the media were allowed limited access to them on December 3, 2013.
Although chimpanzees and bonobos are physically similar, their social organization and behaviors are different. In short, chimpanzees are aggressive, form male-dominated societies, and use a variety of tools in the wild. Bonobos are relatively peaceful, form female-dominated societies, and use tool less frequently in the wild than do chimpanzees. The investigation of these differences will provide a better understanding of the evolutionary origins of human cognition, behavior, and societies. Chimpanzee behavior and social attributes have been investigated extensively in Japan and in other countries; however, few investigations have focused on bonobos. We do not consider the comparison of chimpanzees and humans sufficient to shed light on the origins of human nature; we believe it is necessary to compare bonobos, chimpanzees, and humans to arrive at a true understanding of the human condition. The first scientific investigations of bonobos in Japan conducted at KS will produce several novel findings.
KS will conduct non-invasive research using comparative cognitive and behavioral techniques. Our goal is to clarify the cognitive mechanisms and behavioral basis of thought, language, memory, and sociality. We will emphasize three points.