, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 119–130 | Cite as

Modelling ranging behaviour of female orang-utans: a case study in Tuanan, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

  • Flurina M. WartmannEmail author
  • Ross S. Purves
  • Carel P. van Schaik
Original Article


Quantification of the spatial needs of individuals and populations is vitally important for management and conservation. Geographic information systems (GIS) have recently become important analytical tools in wildlife biology, improving our ability to understand animal movement patterns, especially when very large data sets are collected. This study aims at combining the field of GIS with primatology to model and analyse space-use patterns of wild orang-utans. Home ranges of female orang-utans in the Tuanan Mawas forest reserve in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia were modelled with kernel density estimation methods. Kernel results were compared with minimum convex polygon estimates, and were found to perform better, because they were less sensitive to sample size and produced more reliable estimates. Furthermore, daily travel paths were calculated from 970 complete follow days. Annual ranges for the resident females were approximately 200 ha and remained stable over several years; total home range size was estimated to be 275 ha. On average, each female shared a third of her home range with each neighbouring female. Orang-utan females in Tuanan built their night nest on average 414 m away from the morning nest, whereas average daily travel path length was 777 m. A significant effect of fruit availability on day path length was found. Sexually active females covered longer distances per day and may also temporarily expand their ranges.


Orang-utan Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii Home range Kernel estimation Daily path length 



This study was conducted in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between Universitas Nasional Jakarta (UNAS) and the Anthropological Institute and Museum of the University of Zurich. Travel costs and fieldwork were financially supported by the A.H. Schultz Foundation. We acknowledge the Director General of PHKA, BKSDA Palangkaraya, the Direktorat Fasilitasi Organisasi Politik dan Kemasyarakatan, Departemen Dalam Negeri, the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), the Institute of Research and Technology (RISTEK) and the Indonesian Embassy in Switzerland for granting research permission, the Bornean Orang-Utan Survival Foundation (BOS) and MAWAS, Palangkaraya, for hosting the project in the MAWAS reserve, and our colleagues at UNAS for support and collaboration. Many thanks to all field assistants: Hadi, Kumpo, Pak Rahmat, Tono, and Yandi for sharing their knowledge and to all previous students and assistants for data collection. We thank Maria van Noordwijk for the many interesting discussions and Claude Rosselet for his perseverance in entering maps. We thank three anonymous reviewers for comments on a previous version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Flurina M. Wartmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ross S. Purves
    • 1
  • Carel P. van Schaik
    • 2
  1. 1.Geographic Information Systems, Geographical InstituteUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Anthropological Institute and MuseumUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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