From 2010 to 2012, FFI undertook a nationwide survey of hoolock gibbons and a review of the conservation status of both eastern and western hoolock gibbon in Myanmar. We found that deforestation and hunting had exterminated both species from many sites.
In early 2012 FFI identified a priority conservation site for the endangered western hoolock gibbon: Pauk Sa Mountain. This mountain is the centre of a large – currently pristine – tract of hill broadleaf evergreen forest, supporting the highest population density of the western hoolock gibbon in Myanmar. At this site the main threat to gibbons and the watershed forest was shifting cultivation by local ethnic Chin minorities. We mitigated this threat by supporting the indigenous people to develop community forestry and agroforestry as alternatives to shifting cultivation.
A core conservation zone has been defined in consultation with members of village conservation groups to protect the natural forest and threatened wildlife within the Man Reserved Forest Core Conservation Area. The project has supported six villages in piloting alternative agriculture systems, agroforestry and community forestry projects. Since 2016, FFI has supported the planting of cash crops such as shade-grown coffee and pepper to further improve local incomes.
We are grateful for financial support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.