| The gibbons near Roing in Arunachal Pradesh. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, Dec. 10: Fourteen families of hoolock gibbon, trapped in an isolated cluster of trees near Roing in Arunachal Pradesh, will be translocated to Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary, close to the Sino-Indian border soon.
“The only way to save these gibbons will be to transfer them to another location where there is enough food for them to survive,” said N.V.K. Ashraf, the chief operating officer of the Wildlife Trust of India.
The initiative to translocate these gibbons has been taken by the Arunachal Pradesh forest department and the Wildlife Trust of India.
Researchers of the wildlife trust have been monitoring the movement of these gibbons for over a year now.
The rampant felling for jhum cultivation over the years have left these gibbons stranded in a small cluster of trees at Dello and Injino villages for two years now.
With the reduction in the number of trees, the population of these gibbons has gone down as well.
The hoolock gibbon is listed as a Schedule I animal under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
“Hoolock gibbons live in a family of two and rarely come down to the ground. They are extremely clumsy when on the ground and can easily fall prey to stray dogs and hunters. Members of this particular group of gibbons have been seen raiding cornfields recently. This is alarming, as it indicates their desperation because of insufficient food sources,” a forest official in the Lower Dibang Valley district said.
He said some of the gibbons have already fallen prey to dogs and the villagers have hunted down a few.
“If these gibbons are not shifted to another location immediately they would soon become extinct here. As such we have identified a suitable location at Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary and the translocation process will be finalised soon,” the forest official said.
The distance between the two locations is nearly 20km.
The North East Frontier Railways has also decided to construct a bridge over railway tracks through the Gibbon wildlife sanctuary here in an effort to reunite a group of gibbons, which got separated during the construction of the railway track.