Assam primatologist represents state at global meet in Malaysia
Dr. Chetry heads the Primate Research and Conservation Division at biodiversity conservation organisation Aaranyak.

Guwahati: Making Assam’s scientific community proud, Dr. Dilip Chetry, a distinguished senior primatologist, represented Assam at the recently concluded International Primatological Society-Malaysian Primatological Society (IPS-MPS) Joint Meeting 2023.

The conference, themed “Primates And People: A New Horizon,” was hosted in the picturesque locale of Kuching, Malaysia.

Dr. Chetry, who also holds the prestigious position of heading the Primate Research and Conservation Division at Aaranyak, a leading research-driven biodiversity conservation organisation in the region, shared his expertise and insights with an audience comprising over 600 delegates from 60 countries who attended the event in person. Additionally, 150 participants joined virtually during the proceedings, which spanned from August 19 to 25.

One of the notable highlights of Dr. Chetry’s participation was his presentation at the Gibbon Symposium, where he unveiled his paper titled “Identification of Knowledge Gap for Future Conservation of Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) in India.” This session focused on addressing crucial knowledge gaps essential for safeguarding these small apes and featured valuable lessons drawn from research, conservation endeavors, and outreach initiatives.

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During his talk at Malaysia’s Swinburne University, Dr. Chetry discussed Hoolock gibbon conservation in India, emphasising the threats they face and India and Assam governments’ efforts, including the creation of dedicated National Parks and Aaranyak’s conservation work.

The Western Hoolock gibbon, India’s only ape species, is mainly found in the northeastern states along the Southern Bank of the Brahmaputra-Debang river system. It’s classified as endangered by the IUCN and protected under India’s Wildlife Protection Act 1972, listed in Schedule 1.

Dr. Chetry’s conference talk focused on ‘Habitat Corridors of Golden Langur (Trachypithecus geei) in Bongaigaon District, Assam, India,’ within a symposium addressing ‘Development Impacts on Primates: Challenges, Lessons, and Solutions.’

The Golden Langur, an endangered species, is native to India and Bhutan, with its range limited by the Manas River in the east, Sankosh River in the west, Brahmaputra River in the south, and the Indo-Bhutan border in the north. The main threats to Indian Golden Langurs are habitat loss and fragmentation.

In 2022-2023, a study in Assam’s Bongaigaon district identified 5 current primate corridors and 3 potential ones through field research, satellite imagery, and surveys. The study also reported 3 golden langur deaths (1 male, 2 females) on highways and 2 more (1 male, 1 female) due to electrocution.

Dr. Chetry’s conservation mission in Malaysia received crucial support from Re:wild, a biodiversity preservation organisation.

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