Events in China: Discussion on the conservation of the Hoolock gibbon
The meeting took place in Haikou, Hainan province of China from 7 to 9 July. It was organised by the Global Gibbon Network (GGN).
An Overview of the News
Hoolock Gibbon: The only ape of India
Previously, scientists believed that there were two species of ape in India: the western hoolock gibbon and the eastern hoolock gibbon.
A recent study by the Hyderabad-based Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology reveals that India is home to only one ape species, the Hoolock gibbon.
Features of Hoolock Gibbon
Belonging to the Hylobatidae family, the hoolock gibbon is one of 20 gibbon species on Earth.
Known for their energetic vocal performances, the population of these apes is estimated to be around 12,000.
They are the smallest and fastest species of apes, exhibiting high intelligence and strong family bonds.
Distribution and Accommodation
The hoolock gibbon is native to tropical and subtropical forests in the southeastern part of Asia, including Bangladesh, northeastern India, parts of Myanmar, and southwestern China.
In India, they are unique in the Northeast between south of the Brahmaputra River and east of the Dibang River.
Hoolock gibbon populations face a number of threats, including deforestation for infrastructure projects, habitat destruction, hunting for meat, and human encroachment.
To protect Hoolock gibbons, conservationists have proposed setting up dedicated gibbon wildlife sanctuaries on the lines of Assam.
Legal protection, limited infrastructure development in their habitats and efforts to control human encroachment and poaching are also necessary.
Since the 1990s, the Hoolock gibbon population has declined significantly, leaving all 20 gibbon species at high risk of extinction.
The IUCN Red List maintains the previous classification, with the eastern hoolock gibbon classified as vulnerable and the western hoolock gibbon as endangered.
Both species are included in Schedule I of the Indian (Wildlife) Protection Act, 1972.
Global Gibbon Network (GGN)
Established in 2022 in Haikou, China, GGN aims to protect singing gibbons and their habitats, which are an integral part of Asia's unique natural heritage.
GGN envisions promoting participatory conservation policies, legislation and actions for gibbon conservation.
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