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Gibbon conservation awareness programme reaches Dello village

The Sentinel, Guwahati, 6th April, 2013

ITANAGAR, April 5: The International Fund for Animal Welfare – Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW–WTI) in collaboration with Arunachal Pradesh forest department organized an awareness programme on Hoolock Gibbon conservation among school children at Dello Village in Lower Dibang Valley district.

Dello Village under district headquarters Roing, was in the limelight in recent times following a Gibbon and Bear Rescue Project launched by IFAW–WTI to conserve and protect Gibbon from certain extinction.

The programme was organized recently to make the children aware of the plight of gibbons in their village, official sources informed here today. More than 15 families of eastern Hoolock Gibbons (Hoolock leuconedys) were found stranded in scattered trees in Dello recently. Under the project, five families have been rescued and relocated in a safe habitat at Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Through this campaign, we tried to understand the children’s views on wildlife particularly the gibbons that they see around their houses, and then informed them about their plight,” said Ipra Mekola, State Advisory Board member.

“We got some very interesting and encouraging insight into these children’s minds,” he added.

Many of the students, who spoke up, considered gibbons as a symbol which is deeply rooted in their culture and daily life. One even said that he will spread information among people to not abuse them as they are gentle animals, which does not cause any harm to humans.

“It is very important that students of the local community understand the value of conservation as they will be the protectors of the wildlife tomorrow,” Divisional Forest Officer of Mehao wildlife sanctuary Kenjum Rina, said. A drawing competition on wildlife was also held to generate interest among the students after which prizes were distributed to the winners.

In addition to the talks by Mekola and Rina, encouraging the students to learn more and take pride in saving their heritage, the students were also made aware on the aims and activities of the project by IFAW–WTI members Dr Kuladeep Roy and Soumya Dasgupta.

“These students have seen gibbons, but their plight here is something that many may not be aware of. We wanted them to know what was their status, what is being done under our project, and why, so that they understand the issue”, said Dr Kuladeep Roy.