Guwahati: The Hoolock gibbons, which occur only in Northeast India, on the southern bank of the Dibang-Brahmaputra river system are under threat.
Nagaland, which is one of the potential habitats of this species, is unfortunately threatened by both habitat fragmentation and hunting. Furthermore, the lack of baseline information and conservation awareness regarding the species is yet another hindrance to its conservation in Nagaland.
Aaranyak, a conservation organisation which is also recognised as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, GoI to generate conservation tempo as well as future planning on Hoolock gibbon conservation, conducted multiple capacity-building workshops for the forest frontline staff with active collaboration from Nagaland Forest Department (NFD).
To this end, Aaranyak, NFD with support from IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group’s Section on small Apes (SSA) conducted a workshop for developing an action plan for the species from 9-10 June.
Over 40 participants from Nagaland Forest Department’s different divisions attended the workshop.
The workshop was conducted at the State Environment and Forestry Training Institute (SEFTI), Dimapur, which was inaugurated and chaired by the Nagaland state biodiversity board chair, Satya Prakash Tripathi
Supongnukshi Ao, a Senior forest official highlighted his own experience of how Hoolock gibbon gradually vanished from its native place. Now he requested the communities to come forward for the conservation of Hoolock gibbon.
Dr Dilip Chetry, Senior Primatologist of Aaranyak- region’s forefront biodiversity conservation organisation, said that the status of Hoolock gibbon in Nagaland is alarming and it needs support from all quarters to survive.
He stated this workshop is unique and the first of its kind in Nagaland where the local community from nine districts, Nagaland Forest Department, Primatologists, experts from Bodoland University, Gauhati University, University of Science & Technology Meghalaya and conservation organisations such as Rhino Foundation, FES, Primate
Research Centre NE, together are planning for the future conservation of the Hoolock gibbon in Nagaland.
Dr Anwaruddin Choudhury, an eminent wildlife expert, highlighted his field experience in Nagaland.
While Prof Hilloljyoti Singh shared his experiences of Hoolock gibbon sightings elsewhere in northeast India and expressed that the workshop would yield some new information from the local community.
Prof Parimal Chandra Bhattacharjee, the Chief Guest of the workshop highlighted his experience with Hoolock gibbon in the Northeast as a research supervisor and University teacher.