Guwahati, February 14: The distribution of the two species of Hoolock Gibbons-- the Western Hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) and the Eastern Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock leuconedyes) – in India is limited to the seven states of northeast India on the southern bank of the Dibang – Brahmaputra river system.
The habitat fragmentation and hunting have been the major threats to gibbons in India. Lack of basic information and poor conservation awareness about the species in different sections of the people including the frontline staff of the Nagaland Forest Department have compounded the threat to Hoolock Gibbons posing a major hindrance in the conservation of the species.
The forest guard who actually work in the field are unaware about the various facets of Hoolock gibbon conservation strategy. Keeping this fact in mind and to add steam to the conservation efforts in the State of Nagaland, a series of “Training of Forest Guard for the Conservation of Hoolock Gibbon in Nagaland” has been designed.
Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org), a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation with a mission of carrying out research, training and conservation activities in Northeast India in collaboration with Nagaland Forest Department and with support from US Fish & Wildlife Service carried out the first ever training programme for frontline forest staff in Nagaland on Hoolock gibbon conservation.
This training course was week-long and residential. A wide range of related topic areas are covered including, Biodiversity in Northeast India and conservation, Primates Conservation in Northeast India with special reference to Hoolock gibbon, Gibbon Census or Population estimation, Gibbon Data collection, maintaining & reporting, Techniques of Floristic study, Gibbon habitat characteristic and Restoration, Population Monitoring, Gibbon rescue and rehabilitation, Global Positioning System & use in field, and Legal Orientation (Wildlife Laws and its application). This course had provided participants with an initial understanding of the basic principles of Primatology, experience with the methods and techniques used in field research. The course consists of daily lectures and field exercises.
The training for the first batch was started on 7th Feb,2022 at State Environment and Forestry Training Institute, Dimapur, Nagaland. It was inaugurated by Mr. M. Shakiba Yimchunger, IFS, Director of SEFTI, Dimapur, who welcomed the trainee from Nagaland and said that this type of training, first of its kind in the state of Nagaland, would help frontline forest staff build their capacity for the conservation of biodivesity.
Dr. Dilip Chetry, the Head, Primate Research & Conservation Initiatives of Aaranyak welcomed all the trainees and requested to make full use of this training to enhance their knowledge on conservation of Hoolock gibbon in particular and biodiversity in general. Inauguration session was also addressed by Mr. Obed B. Swu, Deputy director, SEFTI.
Twenty-eight forest guards from five wildlife division of Nagaland had attended the training programme from 7th to 12th Feb,2022. A field study was conducted at Hollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam.