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Rare Video: Young Orangutan and Gibbon Play Together in the Borneo Jungle


8 February 2016 News

Rare video: young orangutan and gibbon play together in the Borneo jungle

Sophie Furnival | Mongabay | 4th February 2016

In the wild, gibbons and orangutans usually compete with one another for food and habitat, so they tend to keep their distance or even on occasion, fight. However, researchers recently captured rare footage of these species interacting in way that was completely unexpected.

Rare video: young orangutan and gibbon play together in the Borneo jungle
  • Researchers recently captured rare footage of a young orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and a gibbon (Hylobates sp.) playing together in Sabangau Forest.
  • The video was captured as part of a long-term research and conservation project run by the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop).
  • The video offers "an amazing insight into how these young apes play and how different their development is," said Susan Cheyne, OuTrop's director of gibbon research.
Fio’s mother keeps watch whilst the youngsters play together in the Sabangau Forest, in the Borneo jungle. Photo by Tom Lloyd.
Fio’s mother keeps watch whilst the youngsters play together in the Sabangau Forest, in the Borneo jungle. Photo by Tom Lloyd.
 

In the wild, gibbons and orangutans usually compete with one another for food and habitat, so they tend to either stay out of one another’s way or, on occasion, fight. However, researchers recently captured rare footage of a young orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and a gibbon (Hylobates sp.) playing together in Sabangau Forest, a peat-swamp forest in Indonesian Borneo.

The video was captured as part of a long-term research and conservation project run by the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop). In it, Chilli the gibbon and Fio the orangutan wrestle, tickle, and chase each other in the rainforest canopy.

“I was not surprised to see them playing together, rather I was delighted as this is very rare,” Susan Cheyne, OuTrop’s director of gibbon research, told Mongabay in an email.

Even though the primates are usually competitors, here we see them playing together in the forest canopy. Photo by Tom Lloyd.
Even though the primates are usually competitors, here we see them playing together in the forest canopy. Photo by Tom Lloyd.

“Fio and Chilli are both about 5 years old but we can see in the video how differently they move and play together,” Cheyne said. She added that this type of play is “crucial” for young animals’ development as it helps them learn social skills and develops their muscles.

Tom Lloyd, a master’s student from Oxford Brookes University in England, was the one behind the camera taking the video and photos. “What started off as a typical day in the forest, turned into something special when an Indonesian field researcher and I came across the pair play-fighting,” Lloyd said in a press release. “We stood there in awe; amazed by these two individuals from different species just doing what youngsters do…having fun!”

Both of the primates are 5 year old, this type of play is crucial to both of their development. Photo by Tom Lloyd.
Both of the primates are 5 year old, this type of play is crucial to both of their development. Photo by Tom Lloyd.

The video offers “an amazing insight into how these young apes play and how different their development is,” Cheyne said, adding “This created an excellent opportunity to start a project on gibbons where we would be able to compare between the two species as well as contribute to their conservation.”

http://news.mongabay.com/2016/02/rare-video-young-orangutan-and-gibbon-play-together-in-the-borneo-jungle/

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