|Scientific Name:||Hoolock hoolock|
|Species Authority:||(Harlan, 1834)|
Bunopithecus hoolock subspecies hoolock (Harlan, 1834)
Hylobates hoolock (Harlan, 1834) [pro parte
|Taxonomic Notes:||This taxon is now considered monotypic; it was formerly considered conspecific with Hoolock leuconedys. The previous generic name, Bunopithecus, was changed by Mootnick and Groves (2005) to Hoolock (Haimoff et al. 1984).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Endangered A2acd+3cd+4acd ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Brockelman, W., Molur, S. & Geissmann, T.|
|Reviewer(s):||Mittermeier, R.A. & Rylands, A.B. (Primate Red List Authority)|
Listed as Endangered as there is reason to believe the species has declined by at least 50% over the past 40 years (approximately three generations) due primarily to hunting and habitat loss. Over the coming 40 years, this decline is likely to reach similar proportions due to continuing habitat loss.
|Range Description:||This species is found in eastern Bangladesh, northeastern India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura), and northwestern Myanmar (west of the Chindwin River). It might possibly occur in China (extreme southeastern Tibet). The distribution in India is restricted to points south of the Brahmaputra and east of the Dibang (Dingba Qu) Rivers (Choudhury 2001). Animals that once were common in the plains of Arunachal Pradesh (northeasternmost India) before that habitat was cultivated for agriculture and tea are not so anymore (Islam and Feeroz 1992).
The boundary between the two species of Hoolock is the Chindwin River, which flows into the Ayerawady (Irrawady) River. At the headwaters in the north there is a hybrid zone or cline between the two species (since they are almost certainly not reproductively isolated). Das et al. (2006) reported the discovery of a population of H. leuconedys in Arunachal Pradesh, northeast India, which has traditionally been considered to be part of the range of H. hoolock.
Native:Bangladesh; India (Assam); Myanmar
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
There are estimated to be about 200-280 hoolocks in Bangladesh (Islam et al. 2006; Molur et al. 2005). In China, a population has been identified in Medog Nature Reserve in southeastern Tibet, just across the border from Arunachal Pradesh, but the identity of this taxon is not established and there has been no survey conducted to determine the population numbers (W. Bleisch pers. comm.).
This species occurs in several of India’s northeastern states, but populations there tend to be isolated. It is common in certain areas of occurrence, but rare in others due to intense hunting by local tribes (Choudhury 1991), and is considered rare throughout its range (Choudhury 2001). The species was found in all forested patches in northeastern India about 30 years ago, but they are reduced to a few forest fragments now. The total population in northeastern India was estimated to be about 2,600, of which the majority—about 2,000—occurs in the state of Assam (Molur et al. 2005). A population of about 170 gibbons has more recently been identified as H. leuconedys (Das et al. 2006) and should be subtracted from the population estimate if this identity is proven. Moreover, there are surveys needed in Mehao region, where there is uncertainty as to which species the gibbons there represent (Das et al. 2006; Das pers. comm.). Namdapha National Park in the Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh is a relative stronghold for this species in India, offering the population there its largest contiguous stretch of protected habitat (Chetry et al. 2003).
There are no population estimates available for Myanmar. It is possible that the largest and most viable populations of western hoolock are to be found in this country, where at present almost no attention is paid to it (W. Brockelman pers. comm.). There are several thousand square kilometers of unsurveyed forest habitat in the central-west and north-west of this country, with a particular need to survey the western areas west of Chindwin/Ayerawady River. There are reports of gibbons in Rakhine Yoma Elephant Range, but there is no knowledge of the actual population level there (W. Brockelman pers. comm. 2006). The western part of Hukuang Tiger Reserve with a large area of forest (>1,000 km2) has not been surveyed, but is likely to have this species. The northern limit is just south of Hkakaraborazi National Park.
|Habitat and Ecology:||
This species is a forest-dweller that, depending on its locale, inhabits tropical evergreen rainforests, tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests, tropical mixed deciduous forests, and subtropical broadleaf hill forests. It has also been noted in bamboo “brakes” and hollock (Terminalia myriocarpa) and ajhar (Largerstroemia flosreginae) plantations. One gibbon pair in the Borajan Reserved Forest (north-east India) was observed to habitually descend from the trees to move over scrub and short bamboo especially while trying to reach the isolated food trees inside a village. This pair was found sleeping at heights of 0 m or less in bamboo clumps (Kakati 1997). Although gibbons may be moving through, or sleeping in, bamboo forest or plantations, they cannot survive in monocultures (W. Brockleman pers. comm.). Additionally, the species has been observed in two plains forest locations (Choudhury 1991). Its preferred habitat, however, is dense evergreen and semi-evergreen forests (Choudhury 2001). It has been recorded at altitudes of up to 2,500 m in Manipur, northeast India (Choudhury 2001).
Home ranges in most populations range from 8-63 ha (Ahsan 2001; Alfred 1992; Alfred and Sati 1986, 1990; Feeroz and Islam 1992; Gittins and Tilson 1984; Islam and Feeroz 1992; Kakati 2004; Mukherjee 1986; Tilson 1979), but unusually large home ranges of 200-400 ha were reported from Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, northeast India (Mukherjee 1982; Mukherjee et al. 1988). The western hoolock is a frugivorous species, with ripe fruits composing a majority of its diet (Ahsan 2001; Alfred and Sati 1986, 1994; Feeroz and Islam 1992; Islam and Feeroz 1992; Kakati 1997; Tilson 1979). A dominantly folivorous diet was reported during studies carried out in Assam’s Borajan Reserved Forest, and in Tripura (Kakati 1997; Mukherjee 1986), and gibbons living in small forest fragments were observed to experience a period of almost total lack of fruit in their diet at the end of the dry season (Kakati, 2004). Low fruit availability may contribute to the relatively large home range sizes of some populations. In northeast India, the hoolock gibbon is recognized as being an important disperser of undigested seeds from large and small fruit-bearing trees (Das 2003).
In Bangladesh, the main threats are the combined effects of habitat loss, fragmentation, human interference and hunting (Islam and Feeroz 1992; Molur et al. 2005). Hunting is universal all over Bangladesh as well as India, and may be in Myanmar also. In China, the Tibetan population could be under threat from hunting for food or non-targeted hunting, but this is not established.
In some Indian locales, these animals are rare due to large scale hunting for food and because some ethnic groups believe the gibbons have medicinal properties (Gupta 2005; J. Das pers. comm.). Additionally, jhoom cultivation threatens the habitats of Indian populations, some of which are relatively isolated already (Choudhury 1991). Affecting all northeastern Indian primate populations are harvesting of bamboo for paper mills, oil mining and exploration, and coal mining, which deplete habitat and cause pollution and disturbance (Choudhury 2001). Habitat fragmentation and loss are major threats in India (Molur et al. 2005). Small and restricted groups may not be viable because of genetic and demographic instabilities and because they are more affected by hunting pressure and habitat loss. Many small forest fragments are reported to have only one or a few gibbon groups. These have limited chances of surviving more than a few generations without translocation.
In Myanmar, shifting cultivation is a major threat, and so is hunting. Although logging is restricted on the western side of the Chindwin, it is still considered a threat for this species. Political and ethnic conflicts have prevented the Myanmar government to promote development and conservation activities effectively in areas of northwestern and central western Myanmar along the borders with India and Bangladesh. Thus, most conservation efforts have been concentrated within the range of H. leuconedys.
|Conservation Actions:||This species is listed on CITES Appendix I and on schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. Overall, it is found in 30 protected areas in India (Choudhury 2001) and many others throughout its range.|
Ahsan, M. 2001. Socio-ecology of the hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock) in two forests of Bangladesh. In: Chicago Zoological Society (ed.), The apes: challenges for the 21st century, Brookfield Zoo, May 10 – 13, 2000, Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield, Illinois, USA.
Alfred, J. 1992. The hoolock gibbon – Hylobates hoolock. Primate Report 34: 65-69.
Alfred, J. and Sati, J. 1986. The gibbons with special reference to Hylobates hoolock. In: T. Majupuria (ed.), Wildlife wealth of India, resources and management, Bangkok, Thailand.
Alfred, J. and Sati, J. 1990. Behavioural study of the Hylobates hoolock Harl. Current trends in environmental biology. Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on Life Sciences, 14-16 Nov. 1985. Shillong, India.
Alfred, J. and Sati, J. 1990. Survey and census of the hoolock gibbon in West Garo Hills, Northeast India. Primates 31(2): 299-306.
Alfred, J. and Sati, J. 1994. Diet and feeding in the hoolock gibbon of Garo hills in North-eastern India. Annals of Forestry 2(2): 109-122.
Biswas, S. 1970. White browed gibbon (Hylobates hoolock Harlan) and capped langur (Presbytis pileatus Blyth) as human food. Journal of Bengal Natural History Society 36: 78-80.
Chetry, D., Medhi, R., Biswas, J., Das, D. and Bhattacharjee, P. C. 2003. Nonhuman primates in the Namdapha National Park, Arunachal Pradesh, India. International Journal of Primatology 24(2): 383-388.
Choudhury, A. 1987. Notes on the distribution and conservation of Phayre’s leaf monkey and hoolock gibbon in India. Tiger Paper 14(2): 2-6.
Choudhury, A. 1990. Population dynamics of hoolock gibbons (Hylobates hoolock) in Assam, India. American Journal of Primatology 20(1): 37-41.
Choudhury, A. 1991. Ecology of the hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock), a lesser ape in the tropical forests of north-eastern India. Journal of Tropical Ecology 7(1): 147-153.
Choudhury, A. 1996. A survey of hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock) in southern Assam, India. Primate Report 44: 77-85.
Choudhury, A. 1996. Primates in Bherjan, Borajan and Podumoni Reserved Forests of Assam, India. Asian Primates 5(3-4): 10-11.
Choudhury, A. 2000. A survey of hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock) in Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, Assam, India. Primate Report 56: 61-66.
Choudhury, A. 2001. New primate sanctuary in Assam, India. Asian Primates 7(3-4): 18-19.
Choudhury, A. 2001. Primates in Northeast India: An overview of their distribution and conservation. ENVIS Bulletin: Wildlife and Protected Areas 1(1): 92-101.
Dam, S. 2006. A short study on wild hoolock gibbons (Hoolock hoolock) in Assam and Bangladesh. Gibbon Journal 2: 40-47.
Das, J. 2003. Hoolock gibbon: Flagship species for future conservation in Northeast India. Asian Primates 8(3-4): 12-17.
Das, J., Biswas, J., Bhattacharjee, P. C. and Mohnot, S. M. 2006. First distribution records of the eastern hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock leuconedys) from India. Zoos’ Print Journal 21(7): 2316-2320.
Das, J., Feeroz, M., Islam, M., Biswas, J., Burjarborua, P., Chetry, D., Medhi, R. and Bose, J. 2003. Distribution of hoolock gibbon (Bunopithecus hoolock hoolock) in India and Bangladesh. Zoos’ Print Journal 18(1): 969-976.
Feeroz, M. M. and Islam, M. A. 1992. Ecology and behaviour of hoolock gibbons of Bangladesh. MARC (Multidisciplinary Action Research Centre). Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Gittins, S. 1984. The distribution and status of the hoolock gibbon in Bangladesh. In: H. Preuschoft, D. J. Chivers, W. Y. Brockelma and N. Creel (eds), The lesser apes. Evolutionary and behavioural biology, pp. 13–15. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, UK.
Gittins, S. and Tilson, R. 1984. Notes on the ecology and behaviour of the hoolock gibbon. In: H. Preuschoft, D. J. Chivers, W. Y. Brockelma and N. Creel (eds), The lesser apes. Evolutionary and behavioural biology, pp. 258-266. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, UK.
Groves, C. 1967. Geographic variation in the hoolock or white-browed gibbon (Hylobates hoolock Harlan 1834). Folia Primatologica 7: 276-283.
Groves, C. P. 2001. Primate taxonomy. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.
Gupta, A. K. 2005. Conservation of hoolock gibbon (Bunopithecus hoolock) in Northeast India. A final report of Wildlife Institute of India and United States Fish and Wildlife Services collaborative project (No. 98210-2-G153). Wildlife Institute of India and United States Fish and Wildlife Services.
Haimoff, E. H., Gittins, S. P., Whitten, A. J. and Chivers, D. J. 1984. A phylogeny and classification of gibbons based on morphology and ethology. In: H. Preuschoft,D. J. Chivers, W. Y. Brockelman and N. Creel (eds), The lesser apes. Evolutionary and behavioural biology, pp. 614-632. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, UK.
Islam, M. and Feeroz, M. 1992. Ecology of hoolock gibbon of Bangladesh. Primates 33(4): 451-464.
Islam, M., Feeroz, M., Muzaffar, S., Kabir, M. and Begum, S. 2006. Conservation of the hoolock gibbons (Hoolock hoolock) of Bangladesh: Population estimates, habitat suitability and management options. United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Kakati, K. 1997. Food selection and ranging in hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock Harlan 1834) in Borajan Reserved Forest. MSc Thesis, Saurashtra University.
Kakati, K. 1999. The singing apes: The world of the hoolock gibbons in the Borajan reserve forest in Assam is dying, thanks to illegal tree-felling. Frontline - India’s National Magazine 16(3): 65-70.
Kakati, K. 2004. Impact on forest fragmentation on the hoolock gibbon in Assam, India. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Cambridge.
Molur, S., Brandon-Jones, D., Dittus, W., Eudey, A., Kumar, A., Singh, M., Feeroz, M. M., Chalise, M., Priya, P. and Walker, S. 2003. Status of South Asian Primates: Conservation Assessment and Managment Plan Report. Workshop Report, 2003. Zoo Outreach Organization/CBSG-South Asia, Coimbatore, India.
Molur, S., Walker, S., Islam, A., Miller, P., Srinivasulu, C., Nameer, P., Daniel, B. and Ravikumar, L. 2005. Conservation of western hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock hoolock) in India and Bangladesh. Comibatore, India.
Mootnick, A. and Groves, C. 2005. A new generic name for the hoolock gibbon (Hylobatidae). International Journal of Primatology 26(4): 971-976.
Mukherjee, R. 1982. Survey of non-human primates of Tripura, India. Journal of the Zoological Society of India 34(1-2): 70-81.
Mukherjee, R. 1986. The ecology of the hoolock gibbon, H. hoolock, in Tripura, India. In: J. G. Else and P. C. Lee (eds), Primate ecology and conservation, Cambridge, UK and London, UK.
Mukherjee, R., Chaudhuri, S. and Murmu, A. 1988. Hoolock gibbons in Arunachal Pradesh, northeast India: Lohit District. Primate Conservation 9: 121-123.
Mukherjee, R., Chaudhuri, S. and Murmu, A. 1992. Status and conservation problems of hoolock gibbon (Hylobates hoolock) in some of its range of distribution in north-eastern India. Primate Report 34: 133-138.
Österberg, P. 2006. Habitat requirements and the effects of forest fragmentation on the western hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock hoolock) in Lawachara National Park. M.Sc. Thesis, Oxford Brookes University.
Srivastava, A. and Mohnot, S. M. 2001. Distribution, conservation status and priorities for primates in Northeast India. ENVIS Bulletin: Wildlife and Protected Areas 1(1): 102-108.
Tilson, R. 1979. On the behaviour of the hoolock gibbons (Hylobates hoolock) during different seasons in Assam, India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 76(1): 1-16.
Walker, S. 2005. Highlights of the population and habitat viability assessment for western hoolock gibbon (Bunopithecus hoolock hoolock) held in Bangladesh. Zoo’s Print Magazine 20(4): 2-4.
|Citation:||Brockelman, W., Molur, S. & Geissmann, T. 2008. Hoolock hoolock. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 05 July 2015.|
|Feedback:||If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided|