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Western Hoolock Gibbon Pair Shifted from CWRC to Pre-release Site in Panbari Reserve Forest
CWRC, Kaziranga National Park, February 27, 2017: A pair of western hoolock gibbons under long-term care at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) – the wildlife rescue, care and rehabilitation facility jointly run by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Assam Forest Department – was shifted to a pre-selected acclimatisation site in the adjoining Panbari Reserve Forest on February 25. This is first step in the gibbons’ soft release protocol, which should eventually see them rehabilitated back into the wild in the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape.

CWRC veterinarian Dr Samshul Ali gives the female hoolock gibbon a check-up prior to her transfer to the acclimatisation site

The gibbons have both been at CWRC for a number of years – ‘Morioni’, the female, was rescued as an infant from Makum in the Tinsukia district of Assam in August 2009 while ‘Karbi’, the male, was rescued as an adult by the forest department from Diphu, Karbi Anglong in February 2013. Having closely monitored their health and behaviour in recent months, the veterinary team at CWRC decided that they were ready to be shifted to the Panbari Reserve Forest, which is connected to the Karbi Anglong hills and is good gibbon habitat.

The gibbons will be kept in adjoining compartments of a cage up in the forest canopy and monitored by a biologist over the next month

Dr Samshul Ali chemically immobilised ‘Karbi’ with a blow pipe while ‘Morioni’ was trapped under Dr Panjit Basumatary’s supervision. “After getting the requisite permission from the forest department, we shifted the gibbon pair to a cage up in the forest canopy so that they can be habituated as per the soft release protocol. The animals have both been fitted with a silver earring for identification in the wild. They are being kept in adjoining compartments of the cage, able to observe and interact with one another, and will be monitored by a biologist over the next month”, said Dr Basumatary.

Eventually, if their condition is sound and their behaviour suggests sufficient adaptation to the forest environment, they will be released into the wild together. 
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