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Hollongapar Sanctuary UPSC NOTE

 Hollongapar Sanctuary

  • The Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, formerly known as the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary or Hollongapar Reserved Forest, is an isolated protected area of evergreen forest located in Assam, India. 

  • The sanctuary was officially constituted and renamed in 1997. 

  • Set aside initially in 1881, its forests used to extend to the foothills of the Patkai mountain range.

  • Since then, the forest has been fragmented and surrounded by tea gardens and small villages. 

  • In the early 1900s, artificial regeneration was used to a develop well-stocked forest, resulting in the site's rich biodiversity. 

  • The Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary contains 

    • India's only gibbons – the hoolock gibbons, and 

    • Northeastern India's only nocturnal primate – the Bengal slow loris.

  • The upper canopy of the forest is dominated by the hollong tree (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus),

  • The habitat is threatened by illegal logging, encroachment of human settlements, and habitat fragmentation.

  • It is the only sanctuary in India named after a primate due to its distinction for containing a dense hoolock gibbon populations.

  • The Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is classified as "Assam plains alluvial semi-evergreen forests" with some wet evergreen forest patches.

Western Hoolock Gibbon

Western Hoolock Gibbon

  • The western hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) is a primate from the gibbon family, Hylobatidae.

  • The species is found in Assam, Mizoram, and Meghalaya in India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar west of the Chindwin River.

  • A new subspecies of the western hoolock gibbon has been described recently from northeastern India, which has been named the Mishmi Hills hoolock gibbon.

  • The species is an important seed disperser; its diet includes mostly ripe fruits, with some flowers, leaves, and shoots.

  • In India and Bangladesh, it is found where the canopy is contiguous, broad-leaved, wet evergreen and mixed evergreen forests, including dipterocarp forests and often in mountainous terrain.

Conservation:

Why it is in news?

  • Primatologists have suggested rerouting a 1.65-km long railway track that has divided Hollongapar Sanctuary dedicated to the western hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) into two unequal parts.

  • The sanctuary has become a ‘forest island’, having lost connectivity with surrounding forest patches. 

  • Since gibbons are exclusively arboreal animals inhabiting the forest’s upper canopy, they are particularly sensitive to canopy gaps.

  • The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) technical report on May 2023, advising an artificial canopy across the railway track in the Hollongapar protected area.

  • Gibbon families on both sides of the railway track have thus been effectively isolated from each other, thereby compromising their population’s genetic variability and further endangering their already threatened survival in the sanctuary.

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