The Hoolock Gibbons are the only ape species found in India and are inhabiting the areas around the Kaziranga National Park within the premises of the park and the area around the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary at Mariani. These Hoolock Gibbons are a majestic primate species and are the second largest in the Gibbon family. Earlier, the Hoolock Gibbons had a significantly large population around the Indian Subcontinent but nowadays they are restricted to areas in the North East of India and in certains fragments of the countries of Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. These primates are in the Endangered list as much of its population have lost their existence to poaching as people used their body parts to manufacture traditional medicines. Although conservation policies have been enforced for these Hoolock Gibbons their numbers still face a major threat due to poachers and destruction of habitat. In North East India, these Hoolock Gibbons are concentrated in the areas surrounding the Kaziranga National Park in Assam and in some parts in the State of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. These Hoolock Gibbons of Kaziranga National Park mostly inhabit the tropical evergreen forests, subtropical monsoon forests and the mountain forests.
The Hoolock Gibbons of Kaziranga National Park are a fantastic primate species that can reach a size of up to 90 cm and can weigh up to 9 kg. Interestingly these Hollock Gibbons do not possess any tail unlike the other primate species. Hoolock Gibbons of Kaziranga National Park have long arms which are double the size of the legs. Usually the male Hoolock Gibbons of Kaziranga National Park are black in color while the female Hoolock Gibbons are yellowish grey. These Gibbons are distinctly recognized with their shrill calls. They normally stay in a group of 6 – 7 Gibbons jumping from one tree branch to another. The name Hollock was derived from the Assamese word meaning ‘Ulluck’ which means a loud call or howl. It is said in the local villages of Assam that in the earlier days the howl of the Hoolock Gibbons was used to determine the time of the day viz. in the morning when the Hoolock Gibbon called, it was time for the farmers to go to the fields while in the afternoon when the female called out it was time for lunch.
These Hoolock Gibbons are similar in anatomy as like the Gorillas and the Orangutans but without the tail. Their hands are relatively much longer than their legs and are elongated and hooked shaped allowing them to swing easily from one tree branch to another. The female Hoolock Gibbon have a small throat sac that helps amplify its vocal sound to call out males during the mating season.
The Hoolock Gibbons of Kaziranga National Park are highly territorial living in small family groups. These Hoolock Gibbons occupy a home area ranging from 15 to 55 hectares and the male Hoolock Gibbons defends its territory by loud howls in the morning and actively chasing away intruders. An interesting ability of the Hoolock Gibbons of Kaziranga National Park are their ability to sing. They sing in solo as well as in groups that help them to defend their territory, food trees and also to attract potential mates during the mating season.
Hoolock gibbons avoid water sources and only visit water bodies to drink water. They are not good swimmers and can drown if they fall into deep water. Hoolock Gibbons bask in the morning sun especially during the winters on high trees located at the center of its territory. These Hoolock Gibbons of Kaziranga National Park exhibit strong seasonal fluctuations activity related gestures like in the winter season, hoolock gibbons spend more time feeding, less time traveling, their songs start later, they produce fewer song bouts, and they retire to their sleeping trees earlier than in summer. There is also mentioned seasonal fluctuations in their diet composition, and to judge by the figure published in hoolocks appear to eat a slightly higher proportion of fruits and fewer leaves in winter than in summer. At night, gibbons sleep sitting up. The family group spends the night in one of several preferred sleeping trees of the territory.
So why wait?! Plan your visit to spot the endangered Primate species of Hoolock Gibbons at the Kaziranga National Park, the State of Assam, Incredible India!
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