In this research, we use a combination of ethnographic observation and GIS analysis to explore the use of space by humans and gibbons (Hylobates moloch) to determine areas of potential space competition in the sacred forest and nature reserve Cagar Alam Leuweung Sancang in West Java, Indonesia. More specifically, we test whether gibbons respond to the presence of humans in a manner consistent with predator-avoidance and predicted that the gibbon study subjects would avoid areas visited by humans (Risk-Disturbance Hypothesis). Data were collected August 2010-June 2011. We collected GPS locations and behavioral data on both the humans (6,652 hours) and the gibbons (1,253 hours) in the forest using 10 minute instantaneous sampling. Results indicate that humans preferentially assemble at the most sacred spot in the forest (Cikajayaan waterfall). Two gibbon groups' home ranges encompassed most of the sacred areas. Group B avoided areas of high human use, as high human use areas and high gibbon use areas did not overlap. Group C, though, continued to use areas that were heavily visited by humans. We thus found partial support for the Risk-Disturbance Hypothesis, although the variation in gibbon response to human disturbance indicates behavioral flexibility. We suggest that understanding the effects of shared space on wildlife is necessary for informing conservation policy in human-visited forests.
Reisland, Melissa Ann and Lambert, Joanna E, "Sympatric Apes in Sacred Forests: Shared Space and Habitat Use by Humans and Endangered Javan Gibbons (Hylobates moloch)." (2016). Anthropology Faculty Contributions. 3.