Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary
Named after the only Ape (Hoolock Gibbon) found in India, Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is a small Sanctuary of 20.98 sq. kms. in Jorhat district of Assam with semi-evergreen forests and evergreen patches amidst tea gardens and human settlements. Hoolock gibbon is only ape which doesn’t have a tail and lives on trees.
The Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, formerly known as the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary or Hollongapar Reserve Forest, is an isolated protected area of evergreen forest. The sanctuary had been carved out of the then Hollongapar Reserve Forest named after the dominant tree species – the Holong.
Gibbon Wildlife sanctuary houses 7 out of only 15 species of Apes in India. It was given the status of a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1997 by the Assam Government vide notification no. FRS 37/97/31 . 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 Hoollongapar 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), while the Nahar (Mesua ferrea) dominates the middle canopy. The lower canopy consists of evergreen shrubs and herbs. The habitat is threatened by illegal logging, encroachment of human settlements, and habitat fragmentation.
Hoollongapar Sanctuary contains India’s only ape family – the Hoolock Gibbon, numbering about 106. Other primates in the sanctuary include the Stump-tailed Macaque (Henduri Bandor in Assamese) which are some 233 in number, the Pig-tailed Macaque which are left with a population of 75 only, the Capped Langur with just 162, 174 Rhesus Macaques, and the Slow Loris (Lajuki Bandor) whose estimation is yet to be made.
The sanctuary officially extends to the Dissoi Valley Reserve Forest, Dissoi Reserve Forest, and Tiru Hill Reserve Forest, which are used as dispersal areas for Indian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) and other animals. Three extensive tea gardens that belong to the estates of Dissoi, Kothalguri, and Hoolonguri span the distance between the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary and the nearest forests in Nagaland, the Dissoi Valley Reserve Forest. The tea gardens include Katonibari, Murmurai, Chenijan, Koliapani, Meleng, Kakojan, Dihavelleoguri, Dihingapar, Kothalguri, Dissoi and Hoolonguri. Neighboring villages include Madhupur, Lakhipur, Rampur, Fesual A (the western part), Fesual B (the eastern part), Katonibari, Pukhurai, Velleoguri, Afolamukh, and Kaliagaon.
This sanctuary is famous for its non- human primate diversity.Seven out of nine species of non human primates found in North Eastern India are found in this sanctuary. It includes Hoolock Gibbon, Capped Langur, Slow Loris, Rhesus Macaque, Assamese Macaque, Pigtailed Macaque & Stump tailed Macaque. Other mammals found in this sanctuary are Leopard, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Chinese Pangolin, Wild Boar, Squirrel, Asian Elephant, Indian Fox, Civet Cat, Bats etc. Many different varieties of Lizard,Python, Cobra , Turtles are also found in this sanctuary.
Due to the high density of primate population within this relatively small geographical area, the birds, their eggs are devoured by the primates of the sanctuary and hence the number of birds ae relatively less. Among the birds found in this sanctuary aremHornbill, Green Pigeaon, Owl,Woodpecker, Dove, Bulbul, Black headed Oriole, Drongo, Barbet, different species of Egrets etc.
Different varieties of bamboo, cane, orchids, ferns are found in abundance along with the trees like Holong, Sashi, Holokh, Sam, kothal (Jack Fruit), Ajar, Titachopa,Seleng etc in the thik forests of Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary.
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