Hoolock Gibbons UPSC

Hoolock Gibbons | UPSC


Hoolock gibbons threatened with extinction in two manipur districts

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hot from DownToEarth !

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Conservation of Biodiversity : IUCN


For PRELIMS it is important to understand the distribution , habit , conservation policies , IUCN status and important features of Hoolock gibbons .

For MAINS go through  habitat defragmentation and loopholes in conservation policy .


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


Hoolock Gibbons | UPSC


The hoolock gibbons are three primate species of genus Hoolock in the gibbon family, Hylobatidae, native to eastern Bangladesh, Northeast India, Myanmar and Southwest China.


Hoolocks are the second-largest of the gibbons, after the siamang.

  • They reach a size of 60 to 90 cm and weigh 6 to 9 kg.
  • The sexes are about the same size, but they differ considerably in coloration.
  • Males are black-colored with remarkable white brows, while females have a grey-brown fur, which is darker at the chest and neck.
  • White rings around their eyes and mouths give their faces a mask-like appearance.


  • In northeast India, the hoolock is found south of Brahmaputra as well on the North Bank areas and east of the Dibang Rivers.

Its range extends into seven states covering Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura .

  • Like the other gibbons, they are diurnal and arboreal, brachiating through the trees with their long arms.
  • They live together in monogamous pairs, which stake out a territory.
  • Their calls serve to locate family members and ward off other gibbons from their territory.

Their diet consists mainly of fruits, insects and leaves

  • Young hoolocks are born after a seven-month gestation, with milky white or buff-colored hair.
  • After eight to 9 years, they are fully mature and their fur reaches its final coloration.
  • Their life expectancy in the wild is about 25 years.


In the past three-four decades, rampant deforestation for timber, forest fires and indiscriminate hunting had led to the decline of the gibbons.

  • Without the tree canopies, the gibbons cannot swing from branch to branch and stake out their territories.
  • They also cannot adapt to living on the ground and cannot bear the high temperatures brought about by the loss of green cover.


  • Populations of western hoolock gibbons have declined by almost 90% over the last 30 years
  • It is now considered to be one of the most endangered 25 primate species in the world.

India,it is listed on Schedule 1 of the Indian (Wildlife) Protection Act 1972.

  • Enhancing protection for the species, the Government of Assam upgraded the status of the Hoollongapar Reserve Forest in the Jorhat District of Assam to a Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in 1997.
  • This was the first Protected Area ever named after a primate species.


The Hoolock Gibbon found are of two types:

  • It is found in all the states of the north-east, restricted between the south of the Brahmaputra river and east of the Dibang river.

Western Hoolock Gibbons UPSC



  • It is found in some parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India, and in southern China and north-east Myanmar outside India.

Eastern Hoolock IUCN


      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Surrounded by tea estates and villages, the shrinking forest is plagued by habitat loss, fragmentation, and human pressures.
  • This is the only sanctuary in India named for a primate and dedicated to the protection of the hoolock gibbon.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

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