By Tom Gillespie @TomGillespie1

ACROBATIC bonobos roll around in the water and playfight with each other in a stream

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One of the apes touches its toes

The boisterous primates went ape at the Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Peek-a-boo: A bonobo's cheeky grin can be seen through the hole in its legs

In one photo a bonobo seems to pull a funny face as it looks through a gap in its own legs.

The primates make a splash as they play in the water

In another two apes hold hands and appear to be dancing.

The apes mess around

The shots were taken by primatologist Emilie Genty while she conducted field research at the sanctuary between January and April 2012.

A bonobo stretches out in the stream

Emilie, 36, said: “I am a keen photographer and when I am conducting my behavioural observations for my own research on bonobo communication, I always carry my camera around to capture interesting moments.

An ape leaves the water

“I also like to take photos of the bonobos during my days off. "

Balancing act: A bonobo appears to be trying to pole vault

The primates are the closest relative to humans in the animal kingdom, and have been known to communicate with each other using a range of different sounds.

Dancing partners: Two apes jig in the water

French primatologist Emilie continued: “When I see them play, my first feeling is a scientific interest in what is going on, but I have to admit that beyond my cartesian mind and my intention to avoid anthropomorphism, I am always entertained when watching them play and impressed by their ingeniuty and crazy acrobatics.”

The apes enjoy splashing around in the stream
On a roll: A bonobo on the move