Protecting the Sangai deer of Manipur

Protecting the Sangai deer of Manipur

Going a step ahead in protecting the endemic, rare and endangered subspecies of brow-antlered deer which is only found in the state of Manipur, the Sangai has been included in the Centre-sponsored endangered species recovery programme.

First discovered in Manipur in 1839, the brow-antlered deer was named Cervus eldi eldi in 1844 in honour of Lt. Percy Eld – a British officer

The Sangai which is found only at the Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only species from the North East to be included in the list. The Keibul Lamjao National Park is a national park in the Bishnupur district of the state of Manipur in India. Once found throughout Manipur, the Sangai is now restricted to the 40 square km area park and has a population of less than 100 in the park. It is listed as "endangered" in IUCN Red List and Schedule I of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

To secure long-term survival of Sangai, the Wildlife Institute of India has drafted an action plan. It is also working in tandem with the Manipur Forest Department to get a clearance for a World Heritage Site status for the Keibul Lamjao Conservation Area comprising the Keibul Lamjao National Park and the Loktak lake covering 223 square km. For strengthening of existing population of Sangai in the park, the wildlife institute will monitor its population trend through scientific and genetic methods, set up a veterinary lab and rescue-cum-conservation breeding centre.

The programme will be funded by the  Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. A multi-pronged approach has been chalked out which includes conservation research, technology-aided management support, training and capacity building of the implementing agencies, monitoring population and habitats, stakeholder sensitisation and mobilisation and mitigation of threats in priority habitats.

This move has at least ensured some positivity to region which is currently under a lot of fire from the Inner Line Permit issue. Finally the tourism sector should be given the full support from both private and other stakeholders so as to bring more vibrancy into regions which have the potential for attracting tourists and mapping the region into the international arena.


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