Connecting Forest Islands In Arunachal Pradesh
In a bid to save the endangered hoolock gibbons of Mishmi Hills, Anoko Mega, Sanctuary’s Mud On Boots Project Leader is organizing plantation drives to connect islanded patches of forests and restore the degraded habitat of the gibbons.
Photo: Anoko Mega
On October 17, 2018, Sanctuary's Mud on Boots Project Leader Anoko Mega organised a tree plantation drive on agricultural lands on the outskirts of the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh.
The Sanctuary is home to the endangered Mishmi hills hoolock gibbon, a beautiful ape species that inhabits the tree canopy. Unregulated deforestation over the past decades has fragmented this habitat, and Mega has identified six farms where 14 gibbon families are stranded in small forest patches that have been severed from the sanctuary, and are at risk of localised extinction. He is now collaborating with the farm owners to lead a long-term effort to reconnect these "forest islands" to the sanctuary by planting a tree corridor, thus giving the gibbons a chance at survival.
Under the expert advice of primate specialist Dr. Narayan Sharma of Cotton University, Guwahati, and support from the Mud on Boots Project, Anoko kicked off this tree corridor initiative by planting 100 saplings of indigenous trees in the village of Denlo in the Lower Dibang Valley district. Around 48 students from the Jemi Notko Degree College participated in this drive, which ended with the sighting of an elusive Mishmi hills hoolock gibbon dwelling in that area. Gibbons have enjoyed a degree of protection in the area as the dominant Idu Mishmi tribe, of which Anoko is a member, upholds a cultural taboo against the hunting of gibbons. However, they are also considered a bad omen. Anoko hopes to change this perception and transform this taboo into a proactive involvement with gibbon conservation.
Anoko is a Project Leader under the Mud on Boots Project, a unique booster programme that identifies and then empowers grassroots conservationists in India by connecting them with mentors, providing a small monetary grant and offering other customised strategic support over a period of two years. To support the work of wildlife conservationists like Anoko, write to