Biology and behaviour of reintroduced gibbons


We observed and recorded the behaviours of gibbons undergoing rehabilitation, before and after release, to document the behavioural and social changes of gibbons in the rehabilitation program and develop criteria for determining the suitability of a pair of gibbons for release. Hylobates albibarbis were observed at the Kalaweit Gibbon Rehabilitation Project in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Data were collected on animals both pre- and post-release and on wild gibbons for comparison. Data presented here show that reintroduced gibbons are capable of surviving without human intervention. In addition, their behaviour is similar to that of wild gibbons in terms of activity budgets, position in the canopy, body posture, pair association (PA) and diet. Prior to this study, no attempt has been made to quantify the rehabilitation process for gibbons, and rehabilitation project personnel require data reporting all aspects of a release so that improvements can be made. It is important to report these data for the benefit of future releases. Criteria, based on the behaviour of wild gibbons, are proposed to assist rehabilitation centers in assessing the suitability of gibbon pairs for release.

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Fig. 1



Pair association i.e., the distance between the gibbons


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We would like to thank Chanee (Aurelién Brulé), the director of the Kalaweit Project, and all Kalaweit staff who helped with data collection. Also thanks to LIPI, the Indonesian Institute of Science for permission to work in Kalimantan. We also thank Mark E. Harrison and Dawn Burnham for helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. Funding for Susan M. Cheyne was provided by The Gibbon Foundation, the C.K. Marr Educational Trust and Downing College, Cambridge.

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Correspondence to Susan M. Cheyne.

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Cheyne, S.M., Chivers, D.J. & Sugardjito, J. Biology and behaviour of reintroduced gibbons. Biodivers Conserv 17, 1741 (2008).

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  • Gibbons
  • Rehabilitation
  • Reintroduction
  • Hylobates albibarbis
  • Behaviour