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GH group opposes gibbons’ relocation, moves chief minister

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From Our Correspondent

TURA, June 24: The Tura Garo Senior Citizens’ Forum (TGSCF) on Monday urged Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to withdraw the proposal to relocate hoolock gibbons from the Sonja Wildlife Rescue Centre in East Garo Hills.
The request for the chief minister’s intervention comes after it was learnt that the Forest and Environment Department is proposing to shift the gibbons from the centre to the upcoming zoo at Umtrew in Ri-Bhoi as well as to zoos in Guwahati and Lucknow.
The forum, while opposing the proposed move, sought the CM’s intervention to stop the same, even as it pointed out that the people of Silsotchigre, where the rescue centre is established, want the establishment of a hoolock breeding centre with required support from the government instead of relocating the animals.
Pointing out that the gibbons have always been held in high regard by the Garos, the Forum said that relocating them elsewhere from their natural habitat might endanger them as the habitat and climatic conditions may not be suitable for them.
The forum then went on to remind the Conrad of an incident in which a hoolock gibbon had escaped from the centre in 2023 after its cage was destroyed in a storm.
Maintaining that security and safety measures are not enough at the rescue centre, the Forum said, “The state of the rescue centre needs to be improved and developed and we urged the government to extend full support for its up-gradation to preserve these unique animals at the site.”
The forum urged the chief minister to ensure that the relocation proposal be withdrawn, taking into account the protection and preservation of the flora and fauna of the land.

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