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Primates. 2006 Oct;47(4):327-35. Epub 2006 May 31.

Survey of Hylobates agilis albibarbis in a logged peat-swamp forest: Sabangau catchment, Central Kalimantan.

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Department of Anthropology, Centre for Conservation, Environment and Development, School of Social Sciences and Law, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK.


Few data are available on gibbon populations in peat-swamp forest. In order to assess the importance of this habitat for gibbon conservation, a population of Hylobates agilis albibarbis was surveyed in the Sabangau peat-swamp forest, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. This is an area of about 5,500 km(2) of selectively logged peat-swamp forest, which was formally gazetted as a national park during 2005. The study was conducted during June and July 2004 using auditory sampling methods. Five sample areas were selected and each was surveyed for four consecutive days by three teams of researchers at designated listening posts. Researchers recorded compass bearings of, and estimated distances to, singing groups. Nineteen groups were located. Population density is estimated to be 2.16 (+/-0.46) groups/km(2). Sightings occurring either at the listening posts or that were obtained by tracking in on calling groups yielded a mean group size of 3.4 individuals, hence individual gibbon density is estimated to be 7.4 (+/-1.59) individuals/km(2). The density estimates fall at the mid-range of those calculated for other gibbon populations, thus suggesting that peat-swamp forest is an important habitat for gibbon conservation in Borneo. A tentative extrapolation of results suggests a potential gibbon population size of 19,000 individuals within the mixed-swamp forest habitat sub-type in the Sabangau. This represents one of the largest remaining continuous populations of Bornean agile gibbons. The designation of the Sabangau forest as a national park will hopefully address the problem of illegal logging and hunting in the region. Further studies should note any difference in gibbon density post protection.

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