Hoolock Gibbon

Hoolock Gibbon

News: The conservation status of the hoolock gibbon, India’s only ape species, has become a matter of concern at a global event on gibbons held in China.

What are Gibbon?
• It is the smallest and fastest ape and is found in tropical and subtropical forests in Southeast Asia. The hoolock gibbon, unique to India’s northeast, is one of the 20 gibbon species on Earth, with an estimated population of 12,000.
• All 20 gibbon species, including the hoolock gibbon, are at a high risk of extinction due to dramatic declines in their distribution and populations since 1900, leaving only small populations in tropical rainforests. (Infrastructural projects are said to be main cause of concern)
• The Global Gibbon Network (GGN) aims to protect and conserve gibbons and their habitats by promoting participatory conservation policies and actions.
• Aaranyak, a non-profit conservation organization based in Assam, India, is one of the founding organizations of the GGN from seven countries.

What is the controversy?
• Initially believed to be two separate species, a genetic analysis by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad in 2021 revealed that there is only one species of ape in India, the hoolock gibbon.
• However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List classifies the western hoolock gibbon as endangered and the eastern hoolock gibbon as vulnerable, which adds complexity to their conservation status.

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