Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Gibbon Hope – How to conserve the world’s smallest apes

Dr Susan M Cheyne

Get your hands on the latest gibbon book! “Gibbon Conservation in the Anthropocene“. All about the smallest apes: gibbons and siamang representing 20 species across 11 countries in Asia.

Hylobatids (gibbons and siamangs) are the smallest of the apes, distinguished by their coordinated duets, territorial songs, arm-swinging locomotion and small family group sizes: the singing, swinging apes.

Of the 20 species, 5 are on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species as Critically Endangered, 14 are Endangered and 1 species is listed as Vulnerable. Despite these classifications, gibbons are often referred to as being ‘forgotten’, in the shadow of their great ape cousins because comparably they receive less research, funding and conservation attention. This is only the third book since the 1980s devoted to gibbons and presents cutting-edge research covering a wide variety of topics including ecology, behaviour, conservation, phylogenetics and taxonomy as well as how to work with people for gibbon conservation.

Written by gibbon researchers and practitioners from across the world, the book discusses conservation challenges in the Anthropocene and presents practice-based approaches and strategies to save these singing, swinging apes from extinction. We demonstrate how using sound and high-quality science can lead to direct conservation actions for the small apes.

This book began as an idea born from the gibbon symposium organised in 2018 at the International Primatological Society meeting in Nairobi. We expected the process to take 2 to 2.5 years. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic this book has taken 5 years from concept to final publication! A reference resource for researchers and students interested in the small apes specifically, as well as researchers interested in the gibbon perspective on a number of theoretical issues in primatology. By providing the most up-to-date review of gibbon and siamang biogeography, behavioural ecology, conservation with a focus on ethnoprimatology, this volume does an outstanding job in significantly adding to our knowledge of small apes. The intended readership is all members of the SSA (present and future), members of the wider Primate Specialist Group of the IUCN, field and academic primatologists and students on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in primatology. With a broad range of topics from genetics to habitat conservation, to local community conservation and the application of social science methods, this book will appeal to a wide audience.

The Section on Small Apes

The IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group’s Section on Small Apes (SSA) is a group of gibbon experts from around the world that individually and collectively work to conserve gibbons. The SSA was set up in 2011 because of the serious threat of extinction that gibbons face globally. The major threats to gibbons include loss of habitat and hunting pressure, often for the wildlife trade. The SSA is a group of more than 250 gibbon experts globally, with a shared vision of conserving the world’s gibbons. Within this symposium we will explore current topics relating to gibbon conservation including captive and wild research and conservation, population and distribution information and engaging communities. The SSA contributes to gibbon conservation through: 1) Strengthening coordination; 2) Increasing awareness of good practice; 3) Providing IUCN-endorsed guidelines; 4) Developing Conservation Action Plans; 5) Ensuring the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is thorough and up-to-date and 6) Providing direct technical support to gibbon conservation.  

I am indebted to my co-editors Professor Helen Chatterjee, Carolyn Thompson and Professor Fan Peng-Fei and to all the amazing researchers who persisted with this book and contributed their work. Congratulations everyone.

Gibbon Conservation in the Anthropocene by Susan M. Cheyne, Carolyn Thompson, Peng-Fei Fan and Helen J. Chatterjee

Title: Gibbon Conservation in the Anthropocene

Editors: Susan M. Cheyne, Carolyn Thompson, Peng-Fei Fan and Helen J. Chatterjee

ISBN: 9781108479417

About The Author

Dr Susan M Cheyne

Susan M. Cheyne is the co-director of Borneo Nature Foundation International and Vice-Chair for IUCN Primate Specialist Group Section on Small Apes. She received the 2017 Marsh Awa...

View profile >

Latest Comments

Have your say!