The conservation status of India’s sole ape species, the hoolock gibbon, has become a pressing global concern.
GS III: Species in News
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Hoolock Gibbon
- Gibbon Species in India
About Hoolock Gibbon:
- Habitat: Hoolock gibbons inhabit tropical and subtropical forests in Southeast Asia. They are found in forested areas of Northeast India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Southern China.
- Apes: Hoolock gibbons are classified as apes and are known as the smallest and fastest of all apes. They share high intelligence, distinct personalities, and strong family bonds with other apes.
- Species: They represent one of the 20 gibbon species found worldwide, making them a part of the diverse gibbon family.
- Population: The current population of hoolock gibbons is estimated to be around 12,000 individuals, highlighting their vulnerability and the need for conservation efforts.
Gibbon Species in India:
- Eastern Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock leuconedys): Found in India’s northeastern region.
- Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock): Also found in India’s northeastern region.
- A recent study by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad analyzed the genetics of hoolock gibbons in India.
- The study found that there is actually only one species of gibbon in India, debunking the previous belief of separate eastern and western species based on coat color.
- The populations previously thought to be eastern and western hoolock gibbons diverged approximately 1.48 million years ago.
- All 20 gibbon species, including hoolock gibbons, are at a high risk of extinction due to conservation challenges.
- Gibbon populations and their habitats have significantly declined over the past century, leaving small populations restricted to tropical rainforests.
- In India, the primary threat to hoolock gibbons is the loss of their natural habitat caused by deforestation for infrastructure projects.
- Western Hoolock Gibbon: Endangered (as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List)
- Eastern Hoolock Gibbon: Vulnerable (as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List)
- Both species are listed on Schedule 1 of the Indian (Wildlife) Protection Act 1972, providing them with legal protection.
-Source: The Hindu