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Title: Coming down from the trees: Is terrestrial activity in Bornean orangutans natural or disturbance driven?
Authors: Ancrenaz, M.
Sollmann, R.
Meijaard, E.
Hearn, A. J.
Ross, J.
Samejima, H.
Loken, B.
Cheyne, S. M.
Stark, D. J.
Gardner, P. C.
Goossens, B.
Mohamed, A.
Bohm, T.
Matsuda, I.
Nakabayasi, M.
Lee, S. K.
Bernard, H.
Brodie, J.
Wich, S.
Fredriksson, G.
Hanya, G.
Harrison, Mark E.
Kanamori, T.
Kretzschmar, P.
Macdonald, D. W.
Riger, P.
Spehar, S.
Ambu, L. N.
Wilting, A.
First Published: 13-Feb-2014
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Citation: Scientific Reports 4: 4024
Abstract: The orangutan is the world's largest arboreal mammal, and images of the red ape moving through the tropical forest canopy symbolise its typical arboreal behaviour. Records of terrestrial behaviour are scarce and often associated with habitat disturbance. We conducted a large-scale species-level analysis of ground-based camera-trapping data to evaluate the extent to which Bornean orangutans Pongo pygmaeus come down from the trees to travel terrestrially, and whether they are indeed forced to the ground primarily by anthropogenic forest disturbances. Although the degree of forest disturbance and canopy gap size influenced terrestriality, orangutans were recorded on the ground as frequently in heavily degraded habitats as in primary forests. Furthermore, all age-sex classes were recorded on the ground (flanged males more often). This suggests that terrestrial locomotion is part of the Bornean orangutan's natural behavioural repertoire to a much greater extent than previously thought, and is only modified by habitat disturbance. The capacity of orangutans to come down from the trees may increase their ability to cope with at least smaller-scale forest fragmentation, and to cross moderately open spaces in mosaic landscapes, although the extent of this versatility remains to be investigated.
DOI Link: 10.1038/srep04024
ISSN: 2045-2322
eISSN: 2045-2322
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. (CC BY 3.0) To view a copy of this license, visit
Description: Supplementary information accompanies this paper at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geography

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