Northeast India’s premier research-based biodiversity conservation organisation, Aaranyak (www.aaranyak.org) had initiated a vital training programme in collaboration with Nagaland Forest Department, and with support from US Fish and Wildlife Service in order to build the capacity of the frontline forest staff to aid in conservation of wildlife, with particular focus on the rare and threatened species- the Hoolock Gibbons. The Hoolock gibbons (Hoolock hoolock) occur in northeast India on the southern bank of the Dibang – Brahmaputra river system and the forested landscape of Nagaland is one of the potential habitats of this endangered species. However, the species face threats in form of habitat fragmentation & loss and hunting.
The week-long workshop, which began on 11th May 2022 has a curriculum on various ecological and conservation subjects. The subjects range from concepts on biodiversity in Northeast India and its conservation, primate conservation in Northeast India with special reference to Hoolock gibbons, population monitoring methods of the gibbons, methodology to collect ecological information on wildlife and its habitat, techniques of vegetation sampling, habitat restoration, rescue and rehabilitation of gibbons and other wildlife, use of tools such as Global Positioning System (GPS) in conducting field study and patrolling, and legal orientation.
It is worth mentioning that this is the third batch to receive such intensive training. The workshop was inaugurated by Mr. M. Shakiba Yimchunger, IFS, Director of the State Environment and Forestry Training Institute (SEFTI) who welcomed the trainees from Nagaland, and said “This type of training is unique in Nagaland and it is our moral duty to ensure the species survival for the future”.
Dr. Dilip Chetry, Head of Primate Research & Conservation Division of Aaranyak who is the lead of the workshop, welcomed all the trainees and appealed to the participants to make use of the workshop to its fullest potential. He further added that it is a good platform to learn about the Hoolock gibbons and biodiversity in general from the various experts who will be sharing knowledge and interact with them throughout the workshop. A lecture on the opening day was also delivered by Mr. Obed B. Swu, Deputy Director of the institute.
A total of 25 forest guards are attending the workshop from Intanki National Park, Nagaland Zoological Park, Dimapur Wildlife Division, Dimapur, Phek, Mon, Zunuheboto, Peren, Wokha, and Tunsang Forest Division, and WPO Kohima of Nagaland.