• Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Assam Forest Department-Aaranyak launches training on Hoolock gibbon conservation

Research-oriented biodiversity conservation organisation Aaranyak has launched a vital training programme on Hoolock gibbon conservation strategy at the Gibbon Conservation Centre of the Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam’s Jorhat district.

This training, which was launched on March 28, is in collaboration with Assam Forest Department’s Jorhat Forest Division, and is supported by The Habitat Trusts, IUCN SSC Primate Specialists Group, and IUCN Primate Section of Small Apes in order to conduct research, training, and conservation activities on Hoolock gibbons in Assam. A total of 29 forest frontline staff are undergoing the training, which will conclude on April 2.

“The species of Hoolock gibbon, the Western Hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) is distributed in northeast India. Their distribution in India is limited to the seven states of northeast India on the southern bank of the Dibang –Brahmaputra river system.”, Aaranyak’s senior scientist and well known primatologist, Dr Dilip Chetry said.

“Unfortunately habitat fragmentation and hunting are the major threats to gibbons in India. Added to this situation is the lack of basic information and poor conservation awareness about the species in different sections of the people including the frontline staff of the Assam Forest Department, which is yet another major hindrance in the conservation of the species.”, Dr Chetry said.

This training course was week long and residential. A wide range of related topic areas are being 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 and Habitat Monitoring, Gibbon rescue and rehabilitation, Global Positioning System & use in field, and Legal Orientation (Wildlife Laws and its application).

This course will provide participants with a basic understanding of the basic principles of primatology, as well as hands-on experience with the field research methods and techniques. The course consists of daily lectures and field exercises.

Nandha Kumar, IFS, Divisional Forest Officer, Jorhat Forest Division inaugurated the first batch of training programme.The trainees were welcomed by Kumar, who said this type of training would help the frontline staff to be better equipped to conserve biodiversity and wildlife.

“Front-line forest staff who work tirelessly in the field need to be knowledgeable about Hoolock gibbon conservation strategies. Keeping this fact in view and to generate conservation tempo in the States of Assam, we have designed these series of training of Forest Front line staff mainly Forest Guards, Foresters and Range officers for the Conservation of Hoolock Gibbon in Assam”. Dr Chetry, Vice Chair, IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group of South Asia Section said.

Dr Dilip Chetry, who also heads the Primate Research & Conservation Division of Aaranyak, welcomed the trainees and urged them to use this training to enhance their knowledge about conservation of Hoolock gibbons in particular and biodiversity in general. The inauguration session was also addressed by Animesh Medhi, Range officer of Mariani. Aaranyak’s Mridupaban Phukon, Akshay Upadhyaya, Simanta Medhi, and Pitam Jyoti Gore are helping in coronation of the training.

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