Shrilling alarm call of a barking deer is quite an excitement when on a jeep safari but this can make you nervous when on foot. Some hullabaloo in the nearby bamboo patch and we started muttering, ‘could be a leopard or just a mongoose’… Obviously I was not ready for such welcome!!! I was mainly looking for ‘Hoolock Gibbon’ or some other primates. A carnivore could be last thing anybody can wish for in such thick forest where you are always on foot with almost zero escape route.
Based on my study I was aware that “Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary” or “Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary (GWLS)” is a small yet one of the most pristine lowland rain-forests of Assam and such exhilarating welcome has raised the respect for this place many fold.
However as we proceeded further alarm calls fainted and we got back into our normal business…
The sanctuary is divided into two unequal chunks of forests by a railway track and this is one of its most serious conservation concerns, many animals met their ends on this track. Success of any conservation effort predominantly depends upon understanding the behavior of the species and its habitat. Gibbons are almost entirely arboreal and very occasionally come down to the ground. So it is not a rocket science to understand that they need a well-connected dense rain-forest to survive. The idea of connecting these patches through canopy bridges has been mooted, but not materialized yet. Hope our railway department finds a way out to make this conservation effort a true success story.
Success of conservation story of GWLS is even more important because this is not only home to Hoolock Gibbons but also many other equally endangered species (like Stump-tailed Macaque, Pig-tailed Macaque, Assamese Macaque, Rhesus macaque, Capped Langur, Slow Loris and many more)
Nature is always beautiful in its every form, be it Hoolock Gibbon or many other hidden gems of this less traveled jungle. GWLS houses 7 species of monkeys out of total 15 species that are found in India and varied species of birds, spiders and squirrels.
My two cents:
If you are planning to visit Kaziranga, you can easily club GWLS with your itinerary. This place is not very far away from Kaziranga.
How to reach:
Air – Jorhat has daily connecting flight to Kolkata and can also be reached by train.
Train – Mariani (MXN) is the main station, situated some 17kms from the Jorhat town.
Road – A very well managed NH 37 connects the town to Dibrugarh (~140 km, 2 hours) and Guwahati (~300 km, 5 hours).
Stay: There are many hotels in town; you can choose one depending upon cash in your pocket. Sanctuary is located at about 5-10 minutes’ drive from Mariani station, so staying nearby station is going to be a good option. Inside sanctuary there is a forest rest house with basic amenities.
Best Time: October to February is generally suggested as best time, though the park can be visited anytime except during Monsoon.