1| Hollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary ~
Among the best renowned Wildlife sanctuaries in Assam known for its population of the Hoolock Gibbons (the only Ape species found in India) and the Bengal Slow Loris (North East India’s only nocturnal primate) – the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Jorhat district of Assam that is an extension of the Patkai mountain foothills. Also known as the Hollongapar Reserve Forest, this entire stretch (21 sq. km) of area is an evergreen forest of Assam surrounded by small local village and the lush tea gardens that is home to rich biodiversity’s of flora, fauna and avifauna. The dominant tree species found in the area of the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is that of Holong (Dipterous carpus macro carpus) and henceforth this place is also called as the Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary. The forest cover here at the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam connects to the evergreen tracts of Nagaland as well. Originally this place was not a protected area but with the gradual rise of human habitation due to the establishment of the tea gardens and rehabilitation of the people from Majuli who had lost their homes to the annual flood havoc caused by the Brahmaputra river a need was required to confer the 21 sq. km area as protected to preserve the habitat of the animal species around the area. Various attempts have been made since then to preserve the wildlife of the area and today the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is home to various primate species like:
- Hoolock Gibbons
- Bengal Slow Loris
- Stump Tailed Macaque
- Northern Pig-tail Macaque
- Eastern Assamese Macaque
- Rhesus Macaque
- Capper Langur
In addition to the above primate species, the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam is also home to Tigers, Leopards, Jungle Cats, Indian Elephants, Wild Boars, Civets, Squirrels, Jungle Fowls, Deer’s and many other mammal species including various bird species and reptiles.
And to boost the food habits of these species Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary has various flora species and the Bhogdoi river provides a source of water to the flora and fauna in the place that creates a water logged region that harbours various semi-hydrophyte plants and micro-system around the place. Some of the tea gardens around the area of the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary are Meleng, Kakojan, Chenijan, Katoni Bari, etc. The only mode of exploration inside the forest reserves is by hiking as there are no safari options available here. One has to take the services of a guide and forest guard to access the forest reserves of the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam and it is a nice chance for visitors to spot some of the primate species here.
Along with it one also has the chance of spotting various bird species inside the reserves of the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary and some of the bird species are Hornbills, Owls, Woodpeckers, Bulbuls, Drongos, Barbets, Egrets, etc. Since its inception as a protected area, the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary administration have taken numerous steps to preserve and protect the habitat of the animal species around here that has helped to maintain a healthy population of each of the primate species here but even today the threat looms over the animal habitat here as these are land encroachments by humans, large quantities of grass are collected from the forest reserves to feed the cattle. A railway track running across the area of the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary divides the park and movement of trains often poses as a threat to the wildlife especially as the area acts an elephant corridor with movement of these big mammals to nearby forests of Nagaland and the threat to their poaching remains. Yet the animals thrive making Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary a successful conservation story and among one of the most pristine Wildlife Sanctuaries in Assam as well as India.
To reach Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary the best way is to access it from the town of Jorhat in Upper Assam. It is hardly about an hour’s drive from Jorhat tot eh Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary and so one can plan on starting early from Jorhat here and hire the services of a guide along with forest guards and spend their day admiring the beautiful flora and fauna of the place especially the primate species.