Canopy Bridges: An Effective Conservation Tactic for Supporting Gibbon Populations in Forest Fragments
In recent years, most forests in the range of the hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) have become fragmented due to forest conversion and selective logging (Das et al. this volume). Therefore, protection of populations in habitat fragments is critical for the conservation of hoolock gibbons. In the Borajan Reserve in the Bherjan-Borajan-Podumoni Wildlife Sanctuary in Tinsukia district, Assam, India, changes in land use patterns and removal of feeding and sleeping trees have reduced the quantity and quality of gibbon habitat. Following dramatic loss of habitat in Borajan from 1995 to 1997, a number of hoolock gibbon groups have been observed visiting private lands to exploit isolated food resources surrounded by areas of human use. This suggests that villages with fruit trees and bamboo groves near the fragmented forests have become foraging sites for the gibbons remaining in forest fragments.
Hoolocks specialize on patchily distributed fruits, and hoolocks living in intact...
KeywordsFood Patch Disturbed Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary Undisturbed Habitat Forest Village
This work was supported by the Great Ape Conservation Fund of the US Fish and Wildlife Service under grant agreement No. 98210-2-G382. We are grateful to the Primate Research Centre, Jodhpur, for providing constant support to the Northeast Centre of PRC. Scientific advice was given from time to time by Prof. S.M. Mohnot, Mr. David Ferguson, Mr. Fred Bagley, Prof. Charles Southwick, and Dr. Rob Horwich. We are also thankful to Mr. S. Doley, PCCF, Assam, and Mr. M.C. Malakar CCF (WL) Assam, for giving us permission to do this work and to the Department of Zoology, Gauhati University for expediting the grant money. Thanks to S. Lappan for assistance with Fig. 22.2. We extend our thanks to the local forest officials, Mr. Malakar, Mr. Gogoi and Mr. Phukan, and to our field assistants, Ram and Pradeep. Without the support from the local villagers, this research would not have been possible.
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