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After Assam’s last golden langur death, there were none...

Assam’s forest department urged to take safety measures for rare hoolock gibbons

Manoj Kumar Ojha Doomdooma Published 26.02.20, 06:53 PM
A golden langur

A golden langur Sourced by the Telegraph

Environmentalists and nature lovers have expressed concern over the reports of death of Assam’s last golden langur at the Umananda river island in Guwahati.

They have urged the state’s forest department to take safety measures for the rare hoolock gibbons found in Dib-ru-Saikhowa National Park as the number of hoolock gibbon is dwindling by the day.


According to reports, Assam’s last golden langur died at the island. A black gibbon also died at Dibru-Saikhowa National Park after coming into contact with a high-voltage electric cable.

Devajit Moran, the secretary of Green Bud, an NGO, told The Telegraph, “The report said Umananda island had been the habitat of most of the golden langur. They had been residing in the island since several years. However, over the past few years, the number had dropped to one and now there are none. If measures are not be taken for the gibbons of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, the same situation may prevail here also.”

The reason behind the last surviving langur’s death is yet to be established. Conservationists have cited loneliness and depression as possible reasons behind the death.

The golden langur is a highly endangered species. The government had earlier initiated several efforts to protect and preserve the 500 golden langur (2019 census) that are left in the state.

Four were brought to the Assam State Zoo for conservation and breeding. Decreasing food reserves and unsafe environment, resulting in human-animal conflict, has further added to the decline.

“I urge the state forest department to take proper safety measures as the number of hoolock gibbons is also dwindling. We will also hold a meeting with villagers to discuss conservation measures,” Moran added.

Four villages of Barekuri gaon panchayat — Digal Haku, Nau-Motapung, Pu-roni-Motapung and Lesenga Tarazan — had 37 gibbons in 2016, which dropped to 23 in 2018 and according to villagers, only 12 can be seen now.

The villages falls under Tinsukia wildlife division and are a part of the national park. The hoolock gibbons have been living in the Barekuri area for the last 26 years.

In 2015, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had declared the year of the gibbon to raise awareness about the threats that gibbons face.

A hoolock gibbon is a gentle, harmless animal unless provoked or teased. There are at most 500 of the species spread across eastern Assam, parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Tripura.

The largest troop of 125 apes is at gibbon wildlife sanctuary near Jorhat town.

Some hoolock gibbons also reside in Dihing Patkai wildlife sanctuary that straddles Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts.

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