Species in News: Hoolock Gibbons


  • Hoolock Gibbons, the only species of apes found in India, are threatened with extinction in the Ukhrul and Kamjong districts of Manipur.

Key Details

  • The two districts used to be covered with dense, tropical rainforests, which provided ideal tree canopies for the arboreal, brachiating ape species.
  • However, in the past three-four decades, rampant deforestation for timber, forest fires and indiscriminate hunting had led to the decline of not just the gibbons but also other herbivore species like wild goats, antelope and deer.
  • They also cannot adapt to living on the ground and cannot bear the high temperatures brought about by the loss of green cover.

Back to basics

About Hoolock Gibbons:

  • The hoolock gibbons are three primate species of genus Hoolockin the gibbon family and are native to eastern Bangladesh, Northeast India, Myanmar and Southwest China. Northeastern India is home to two ape species: eastern and western hoolock gibbons.
  • Gibbons are diurnal (active during the day)and arboreal (live on trees).
  • Their diet consists mainly of fruits, insects and leaves.
  • They live together in monogamous pairs.
  • Threats (applicable to both):  Deforestation for timber, forest fires and hunting.

Western Hoolock Gibbons

  • Found in all the states of north-east India, restricted between the south of the Brahmaputra river and east of the Dibang river. Also found in Bangladesh and north-west Myanmar.
  • IUCN- Endangered

Eastern Hoolock Gibbons

  • Inhabits specific pockets of Arunachal Pradesh and Assamin India, and southern China and north-east Myanmar.
  • IUCN- Vulnerable

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