Susan Cheyne

Author Biography and Research Interests: 

In 2000 I started my PhD in Primate Biology and Conservation at Cambridge University and graduated in 2004. During this time I worked at the Kalaweit Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, with which I am still associated as a scientific advisor and coordinator for Kalaweit UK. Responsibilities include coordinating the volunteer programme and raising awareness of the plight of gibbons. My PhD dissertation focused on the rehabilitation and reintroduction of captive-raised gibbons. I quantified the behavioural changes undergone by gibbons in the rehabilitation program, identified criteria to determine when a pair of gibbons was ready for release and quantified the behavioural differences between wild and released gibbons. Additionally I investigated the individuality of female great calls between wild and rehabilitant gibbons and highlighted the various stereotypic behaviours which can affect captive-raised gibbons. I produced Gibbon Welfare Guidelines which are available on the IUCN website.

In June 2005 I started the Sebangau Gibbon Behavioural Ecology Project in the Sebangau National Park, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. This work was for my Post Doctoral Research with the Department of Anthropology, George Washington University, Washington DC., working with Dr Peter Lucas. Additionally I work with the Orang-utan Tropical Peat-land Project, developing long-term, wildlife monitoring projects which will contribute to the scientific knowledge of the study area. I am collecting data on all aspects of the gibbons behaviour and ecology including singing, ranging, interactions and competition with conspecifics and other species, food choice, nutritional intake, feeding patterns and activity patterns.
I joined the WildCRU in March 2007 as a post doctoral researcher. I am developing research ideas for the Sebangau National Park including gibbon (Hylobates) paternity testing with DNA, flying fox (Pteropus) surveys, Felid research and community education programmes.


Saving the Asian Apes: Orang-utan and Gibbon Conservation in Indonesia

Susan Cheyne

4th December 2008; Science Oxford

“The charismatic orang-utan and the singing, swinging gibbon are threatened by logging, oil palm, the illegal pet trade and forest fires.  But more people are learning how they can help our primate cousins, so the situation is not all bleak.  Dr Susan Cheyne will discuss what we know about these wonderful creatures, and how they can be protected”

  • Cheyne SM, 2004. Assessing rehabilitation and reintroduction of captive-raised gibbons in Indonesia. (PhD). Cambridge: University of Cambridge.
  • Cheyne SM, 2005. Re-introduction of captive-raised gibbons in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Reintroduction News 24:22-25.
  • Cheyne SM, 2006. Gibbons: conservation and the future for the world’s smallest ape. Edinburgh University Graduate Association Journal 159-162.
  • Cheyne SM, 2007a. Indonesian Gibbons. In: All the World's Primates (Rowe N, ed). Charlestown RI: Pogonias Press Inc.
  • Cheyne SM, 2007b. Unusual behaviour of captive-raised gibbons: implications for welfare. Primates 47:322-326.
  • Cheyne SM, in press. The Role of Reintroduction in Gibbon Conservation: Opportunities and Challenges. In: The Gibbons: New Perspectives on Small Ape Socioecology and Population Biology (Lappan SM, Whittaker DL, Geissmann T, eds): Karger.
  • Cheyne SM, Brulé A, 2004. Adaptation of a captive-raised gibbon to the wild. Folia Primatologica 75:37-39.
  • Cheyne SM, Chivers DJ, 2006. Sexual Swellings of Female Gibbons. Folia Primatologica 77:345-352.
  • Cheyne SM, Chivers DJ, Sugardjito J, 2005a. Proposed Guidelines for Gibbon Rehabilitation. In,
  • Cheyne SM, Chivers DJ, Sugardjito J, 2006. Wildlife Reintroduction: Considerations of Habitat Quality at the Release Site. BioMed Central Ecology
  • Cheyne SM, Chivers DJ, Sugardjito J, 2007. Covariation in the great calls of rehabilitant and wild gibbons Hylobates agilis albibarbis. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 55:201-207.
  • Cheyne SM, Harrison ME, Morrogh-Bernard H, 2005b. Differences in Orang-utan and Gibbon Diets in the Sebangau National Park, Indonesia: Implications for Conservation. . In: Proceedings of the International Symposium and Workshop on “Restoration and Wise Use of Tropical Peatland (Reiley JO, ed). Palangka Raya, Indonesia: CIMTROP; 100-103.
  • Cheyne SM, Shinta E, 2006. Important tree species for gibbons in the Sebangau peat swamp forest. Report to the Indonesian Department of Forestry (PHKA), Jakarta and Palangka Raya. In. Palangka Raya: CIMTROP; 7.
  • Cheyne SM, Thompson CJH, Phillips AC, Hill RMC, Limin SH, 2007. Density and Population Estimate of Gibbons (Hylobates agilis albibarbis) in the Sebangau Catchment, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia Primates.
  • Harrison ME, Cheyne SM, Morrogh-Bernard H, Husson SJ, 2005. What can apes tell us about the health of their environment? A Preliminary Analysis of the use of orang-utans and gibbons as biological indicators of changes in habitat quality in tropical peat swamp forests. . In: Proceedings of the International Symposium and Workshop on “Restoration and Wise Use of Tropical Peatland” (Reiley JO, ed). Palangka Raya, Indonesia: CIMTROP; 104-109.
  • Struebig MJ, Harrison ME, Cheyne SM, Limin SH, In press. Intensive hunting of large flying-foxes (Pteropus vampyrus natunae) in the Sebangau Catchment, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Oryx.



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