Year of the Gibbon 2015: Introducing Gibbon Group ‘Karate’


As part of our blog series for Year of the Gibbon 2015, Dr Susan Cheyne (Director of Gibbon and Felid Research) introduces some of the individual gibbons that we study in the Sabangau Forest.

Introducing Karate Group: so named as they are regular winners in the many intergroup encounters with other gibbons. The family has been followed since 2006 and is led by the adult male KBL and female KCL.

Female ‘KCL’ from Karate Group with her curious infant. Photo by Carolyn Thompson/OuTrop.

In the time we have been following this group they have had 3 offspring and their eldest daughter (KZY) has dispersed to find a mate of her own and start a family. In February 2015, Karate Group welcomed another new infant to the group. You can watch ‘KCL’ and her infant together on our YouTube channel here.

We have now switched the focus of our research to mother-infant relationships to learn more about both the complex relationships between the mother and infant in terms of care and learning, but also how the young gibbon develops and how he or she interacts with the other members of the family.

Since 2006, Karate Group have extended their territory east into our study area and have expanded their overall territory to about 60 hectares, making theirs one of the biggest territories of all the groups we study. This makes finding and following them more challenging for our field team!

Azis (member of our Primate Behaviour Team) follows a family of gibbons in the tough Sabangau Forest. Photo by Chris Owen/OuTrop.


Young gibbons are very hard to see and it is really difficult for us to tell the sex of the new gibbon. Until we are sure we will not be giving he or she a name. Stay tuned throughout the Year of the Gibbon 2015 as we bring you more news about gibbons and the individuals we follow and hopefully we will have a name for the newest member of this endangered species soon.


 Find out more about Year of the Gibbon 2015 here.