Geissmann, T., Grindley, M., Momberg, F., Ngwe Lwin , Saw Soe Aung, and Thet Naing Aung (2009). The Hoolock Gibbon Status Review project: First results from Rakhine and Kachin states. Folia Primatologica 80: 119 (Abstract only).
Thomas Geissmann a, Mark Grindley b, Frank Momberg c, Ngwe Lwin d, Saw Soe Aung d, and Thet Naing Aung d
a Anthropological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich, Switzerland
b PRCF (People Resources and Conservation Foundation), Chiang Mai, Thailand
c FFI (Fauna and Flora International), Jakarta, Indonesia
d BANCA (Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association), Yangon, Myanmar
Key Words: Hoolock gibbon, Myanmar, Conservation, Deforestation, Hunting
Globally, hoolock gibbon populations are dwindling due to forest clearance, disturbance, and hunting. Myanmar is believed to hold large intact areas of prime gibbon habitat and to support the largest remaining populations of hoolock gibbons. Yet there is no significant data on the conservation status of the gibbons in this country. The Hoolock Gibbon Status Review project was recently implemented jointly by the People Resources and Conservation Foundation (PRCF), Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the Myanmar Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) and the Zoology Department of the University of Yangon, to comprehensively assess the conservation status of hoolock gibbons in Myanmar. This will help identify, prioritize, and plan conservation interventions to boost options for the long-term conservation of these apes. The project will also identify major threats to gibbon populations in Myanmar and raise awareness among stakeholders regarding conservation needs for the species. We present first results of our field surveys in the Rakhine and Kachin states, i.e. the southwest and the northeast of Myanmar. Hoolocks were encountered in every survey area, but so was habitat destruction, habitat deterioration, and hunting. Near the Chinese border in Kachin, we found massive ongoing deforestation throughout the survey area caused by Chinese timber companies. The occurrence of hoolock gibbons there is restricted to few relict forests, all of which may be cleared within the next two years. These preliminary results suggest that the status of hoolock gibbons in Myanmar may be more alarming than previously believed.
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