Behavioural Ecology of Gibbons (Hylobates albibarbis) in a Degraded Peat-Swamp Forest

  • Susan M. CheyneEmail author
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


Gibbons are small arboreal apes inhabiting the rainforests of South-East Asia, Northwest India and Bangladesh (Carpenter 1940; Chivers 1977). The taxonomy of gibbons is under dispute, as the status of several taxa as species or subspecies is uncertain. Within the family Hylobatideae, there are four genera of gibbons: Bunopithecus (hoolock gibbon), Hylobates, Nomascus (crested gibbons) and Symphalangus (siamangs), and at least 12 species (Brandon-Jones et al. 2004). Apart from the sympatric Hylobates agilis/Hylobates lar and siamangs in Sumatra and peninsular Malaysia, gibbons are allopatric (Leighton 1987; Reichard and Sommer 1997). Some hybrids have been found within the genus Hylobates, including populations in Borneo (Hylobates albibarbis and Hylobates muelleri: Mather 1992), in Thailand (H. lar and Hylobates pileatus: Brockelman and Gittins 1984) and in peninsular Malaysia (H. lar and H. agilis: Brockelman and Gittins 1984). The Bornean agile or southern gibbon (H. albibarbis) occurs in southern Borneo, between the Kapuas and Barito rivers (Brandon-Jones et al. 2004). Its taxonomic status is unclear, but recent molecular evidence identifies it as a separate species, rather than a sub-species of H. agilis (Brandon-Jones et al. 2004; Geissmann 2007; Groves 2001).


Fallback Food Daily Travel Distance Great Call Gibbon Species Agile Gibbon 
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I thank Jatna Supriatna and Sharon L. Gursky for the invitation to contribute to this book. This work was supported by grants from the Department of Anthropology, George Washington University; Primate Conservation Inc., Cambridge University Philosophical Society, Rufford Small Grants for Conservation, Columbus Zoo and IdeaWild. I gratefully acknowledge the contribution of all the researchers who assisted with the project: Adul, Ambut, Andri Thomas, Iwan, Ramadhan, Santiano, Twentinolosa, Yudhi Kuswanto, Zeri, Mark E. Harrison, Claire J.H Thompson, Grace V. Blackham, Bernat Ripoll, Dave A. Smith, Andrea Höing, Lindy Thompson and Marie Hamard. This work was carried out as part of the biodiversity monitoring research and conservation efforts of the Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project. I thank the Indonesian Institute of Science and the Indonesian Department of Forestry for permission to carry out research in the Sabangau Catchment and I thank the Center for International Cooperation in Sustainable Management of Tropical Peatland (CIMTROP), University of Palangka Raya for sponsoring my research and providing invaluable logistical support. I thank David J. Chivers and an anonymous reviewer who commented on early drafts of this chapter.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of ZoologyOxford UniversityTubneyUK
  2. 2.Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project, Centre for the International Cooperation in Management of Tropical Peatlands (CIMTROP), University of Palangka RayaCentral KalimantanIndonesia

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