TODAY -

Dancing Deer of the Floating Park : Sangai

Kh. Shamungou *

Sangai : The endemic, rare and endangered Manipur Brow-antlered deer  in February 2009
Sangai : The endemic, rare and endangered Manipur Brow-antlered deer in February 2009



The Manipur brow-antlered deer or the Dancing deer of Manipur, lovingly called Sangai (a deer awaiting and looking at you) is a flagship species of Manipur State. Today, around 200 heads of them (another 200 heads in 15 Indian zoos) are being conserved on the floating morass of vegetation known as phumdi in Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), Manipur as the most endangered deer of the world. The phumdis are very spongy and springy due to the presence of air and water that fill spaces inside. Walking on the phumdi needs a unique experience because of its regular pulsation.

Keibul Lamjao National Park : The KLNP (40 sq km) is situated near Moirang (a cultural capital of Manipur) in Bishnupur district, 45 km south of the Imphal, Manipur. It stretches from north to south along the southeastern fringe of Loktak Lake (286 sq km at 768.5m water level). The Loktak itself is a priced Wetland of International Importance under IUCN's Ramsar Convention, 1990 or a Ramsar Site. The KLNP on its lap is the only 'Floating Park' in the world and Sangai is the pride of this floating habitat.

Flora and Fauna : The KLNP is a sea of grass. More than 135 species of grass including several economically important varieties grow on the phumdi and trees are found on the Pabot, Chingjao and Toya hillocks. The park accounts for 54 species of fish, several forms of amphibians, snakes, turtles and tortoise and 150 species of birds including wintering water birds. The Sangai shares the habitat with hog deer (Axis porcinus) and wild boars (Sus scrofa).

Sangai Legends : A prince of Luwang clan of Manipur had transformed himself into a majestic deer to be known as Sangai. The ancient royal boat (Hiyang Hirel) had the decoration of Sangai head on its head part.

According to Moirang Kangleirol (Folklore of Moirang), a legendary hero called Kadeng Thanjahanba, once brought a gravid female as a loving gift for his beloved Tonu Laijingrembi and released the deer free in the wild of Keibul Lamjao, thence-forth the place became the only abode of the Sangai.

Sangai Species : The Sangai or the Manipur based Eld's deer is the only deer, which is adapted itself on a swampy habitat. A fully-grown male measures about 125cm at the shoulder. The dark-brown or dark-chestnut color of male during the cold and rutting season becomes earthy-red during the hot season. The females are lighter and uniformly reddish throughout the year. A male Sangai bears an impressive pair of 'arc' shaped antlers, as crown on its head and it is the most spectacular feature of the deer.

Sangai Subspecies : The Eld's deer were once distributed throughout much of the Asia but of late due to continued hunting and poaching, habited destruction and fragmentation, they have been extirpated from much of their historical range and now persist only in small and fragmented population in Manipur (India), Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Hainan's island (China). Today, four subspecies of brow-antlered deer are designated.

Sangai or Manipur brow-antlered deer : Rucervus eldii eldii
Thamin or Myanmar brow-antlered deer :Rucervus eldii thamin
Lamang or Siamese brow-antlered deer : Rucervus eldii siamensis
Hainan brow-antlered deer : Rucervus eldii hainanus .

Memorable Dates of Sangai :

1842 : McClelland described the species
1916/1931 : Manipur State Game Rules protected the species
1950 : Sangai considered extinct.
1953 : About 100 survivors discovered by E.P.Gee in Keibul Lamjao area.
1954 : Keibul Lamjao Wildlife Sanctuary born.
1977 : Keibul Lamjao National Park gazetted.
1989 : Declared as 'Manipur State Animal'.
1989 : Recognized as 'Species of the Year' by Nandankanan Zoo, Orissa.
1990 : Honoured as 'Our Sangai', by Mysore Zoo.
1992 : Launched a programme 'Conservation of Your Sangai is Now Our Business Also' by British Airways.
1999 : Named, Ningthem (Mascot), by 5th National Game, Manipur.

Sangai population : Manipur that once boasted of its prized possession of Sangai on her lap only and nowhere else in the world is today frantically looking for its last refuge in KLNP. The deer has so far thrown into a gloomy population. Their existence is vulnerable ecologically, and in the event of a political expediency or a natural calamity their last abode along with the remnant and isolated population could be destroyed or reduce it to such a miserable size beyond revival. The Thangbral-yangbi, Pabot and Toya are the ecologically sensitive areas and during the recent past they were at their best to provide as the place for Centre of Activity of the deer. Today, the situation is remarkably changed. Following Loktak Project, these areas can no longer be a safe place for rutting activities.

Sangai Status : Sangai is listed as highly endangered species in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), critically endangered deer by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or World Conservation Union (IUCN) and Schedule I species of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (IWPA)

Needs of the Hours : Three basic requirements that need to be strictly preserved in KLNP are :
to maintain the thickness of phumdi in the home range area at 1 - 2 metres;
to avoid human presence in the Thangbral-yangbi (breeding ground area) during rutting season (February-March) and to preserve the fodder and cover grasses in a proportion of 1:1.

Uncontrolled phumdi fire; the replacement of fodder grass by weeds and the overgrowth of an exotic paragrass (Brachiaria mutica) are other important aspects affecting Sangai's survival in KLNP. A phumdi less than one metre thick is injurious to the animal as it fails to hold the weight of an adult deer. But in many places of the park the thickness of phumdi has been reduced below the desired scale which is truly alarming .


At this rate, if an urgent and forceful steps are not taken up soon, this endemic species and its habitat will soon be wiped out. In this context, therefore, the park should be recognized as being one of the national highest priorities for conservation of Sangai. Also there is a need to implement strict measures to check the slowly crumbling population structure in term of sex ratio and others, and the rapidly declining habitat conditions of the park, which is a very unique place for this rare species 'Sangai'.

It is a national shame that just a majestic deer, which is alone in this world in Manipur being left to kill itself by drowning in the water of the Loktak Project. We can hope some sort of Sariska's tiger-intervention by PM, Manmohan Singh to save the Sangai deer from early extinction.

It would be a terrible mistake for the generation to make the species extinct. Let's save Sangai for our future. Let our generations to come be happy to see the dancing deer on the floating habitat.


* Kh. Shamungou wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
The writer is a Member, IUCN/Deer Specialist Group/Species Survival Commission
This article was posted on November 23, 2013.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.


LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Heikru Hidongba #1 : Gallery
  • Heigru Hidongba (Boat Race)
  • Get down to business
  • The Eternal Moment :: Poem
  • Why is oiling good for the hair
  • Jobs at SKY Hospital
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Creating Future Media Leaders in NE
  • Understanding Communist ideology
  • Suspended but drama not over yet
  • Arrested for molesting student in Mumbai
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #1
  • Chingyainu, Chingnguremba :: eMing
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #2 : Gallery
  • Naga-Kuki Conflict: ..Kuki aggression
  • Tibeto-Burman Languages : Book
  • Indian Judiciary no more a caged bird
  • IGAR (S) calls on Governor of Manipur
  • Spirit of Irabot still runs in Journalists
  • Concern should be about mob mentality
  • Tribes, Art & Soul of India #1: Gallery
  • Rally against Mob Lynching #1: Gallery
  • 'Sahnit' an honour or a disgrace
  • Irabot : Socio-Political Challenges
  • Training employees for better governance
  • Blue Ocean :: Poem
  • Sextortion: Making money from shame
  • Condemn murder of Neiphretuo Metsie
  • Social lacunae
  • BJP on poll drive at Imphal, Kohima
  • Mary Kom lost 2 kg in 4 hours
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #2
  • Felicitation of Sportsperson: Gallery
  • ICJ: Investigation of Extrajudicial Killing
  • Legal profession as career option #2
  • Loktak Down Stream HE Project (2x33MW)
  • Protest against mob lynching at DU
  • Ripples of Music :: Poem
  • Memo submitted to CM over lynching
  • Poems of Peace, Resistance ...
  • Helicopter Schedule for Imphal-Jiri
  • Mirabai recommended for Khel Ratna
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #3: Gallery
  • Manipur State is still winning..
  • Gazetteer of North-East India :: Book
  • Sunfeast Cup Football Tournament
  • Trip down memory lane
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Folk Song :: Poem
  • The Endureres at Dwarka Half Marathon
  • Main accused in cop slaying nabbed
  • Naga talks not confined to Nagaland..
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #1 : Gallery
  • Rest in Peace Humanity
  • Ph Banti's artwork 'Trafficking of children'
  • Cry of a Dying River - 45 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is not a religion
  • Jobs at R-Square Design
  • Candle Light at DU over lynching
  • Society as a reflection of govt
  • Mobocracy : Shame on Manipur
  • Kuki Black Day @CCpur : Gallery
  • miAoIbgi pNTuH :: Seireng
  • An opinion on Tharoijam killing
  • How Manipur lost internal autonomy, Kabaw
  • Admission for PhD at Tripura Univ
  • Meefam ST at Nambol, Khangabok
  • Importance of Forest & Environment
  • Deep social divide: Two different folks?
  • Kuki Black Day: Kukis Will never forget
  • R & V Art House's First Art Fest 2018
  • Celebrating International Literacy Day, 2018
  • Born a Kuki, die a Kuki :: Poem
  • History of North East India :: Book
  • Will SimpliciTB make TB treatment simpler
  • Meefam chathaduna ST gi issue..
  • Dipankar Talukdar- Mr Model of World Star
  • System error- who will fix Broken Window
  • Reshuffle Talks : Say No to Yes Me
  • India negotiating vehicle pact with Myanmar
  • Chalwa Village, Kangpokpi #2 : Gallery
  • Thien & its downfall in Zeliangrong #2
  • Is FA a self exposed daylight robbery?
  • Nation Needs Small Farmers
  • Who is programming you ?
  • Bandhs as dissent & survival of laziest
  • Looking for Raju :: Poem
  • The cry of the 2nd class citizen
  • Bharat Bandh in Imphal
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #1
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Naga-Kuki conflict: Search for definitions
  • Mega Marathon Manipur : Download Form
  • Legal profession as career option
  • Guv felicitates 5 JAK RIF for flood relief
  • Stored Anger :: Book Review
  • On stepping into the 20th year of TSE
  • Sept - month which reinstated our courage
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON #2 : Gallery
  • Empty :: Poem
  • Lets beat littering - plastics pollution
  • NEHU Seminar : Urbanization in India
  • Jobs at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • Declaration of Naga Collective Spirit [Sep 8]
  • Akanba Khongjangidamak Yathokpa Loire
  • Support for STDC from UMA, Assam
  • 'Deplorable power supply in Nagaland'
  • Tryst with destiny - Should we accept ?
  • Stand off at MU : Impact on LS Poll
  • Exploring the enthralling Tuilha Kol
  • Kamesh Salam : Outstanding Green Activist
  • The Valley Of Brahmaputra :: Book
  • Development of road database
  • The inner page story :: Poem
  • Kakching WW-II Memorial Run 2018
  • STDC public meeting at Langathel Keithel
  • Maibi Jagoi at Sangai Fest : Gallery
  • My poll without prejudice to anyone
  • MEETAC - Mission for streamlining TK
  • Conditions leading to Marxism
  • Heart Camp at Khelakhong, Thoubal
  • Cyber bully: Crime that follows you home
  • Bhupen Hazarika : Tribute at London
  • AEP & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Political pandemonium
  • Students central to MU issue
  • Landscape from Koubru #2 : Gallery
  • Leishangthem Robert for Mr. World 2018
  • Oinam Shilla Chanu at Mrs India Earth
  • North-east Frontier Of India :: Book
  • Thien & its downfall in Zeliangrong #1
  • Cry of a Dying River - 44 :: Poem
  • JRF Post at Mizoram University
  • Honours to Bamboo; a ubiquitous gift
  • Case of hunter now being huntedr
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #3 : Gallery
  • Women Empowerment & judicial Activism
  • Narin Chenggum - wild edible mushroom
  • Flying Star at your lips :: Poem
  • Out of the box thinking
  • Call centre fraud: Vicious vishing attack
  • Changing India & its impact on Manipur
  • MU stand off gets uglier
  • Tikendrajit : The Lion of Manipur #4
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #1 : Gallery
  • Eastern Frontier of India :: Book Review
  • Remembering Radhakrishnan ..
  • Moments to cherish :: Poem
  • Glimpse of the Buddha's teaching
  • NH7 Weekender Express Editions
  • Rejoinder to NDPP from NPF [05 Sep]
  • Mental equation
  • Are teachers teaching ? Apt, timely poser
  • Sirarakhong Hathei Phanit @Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #1 : Gallery
  • Globalization, Act East Policy & Manipur
  • Review on anthology of Parthajit Borah
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Child Friendly Police Stations proposed
  • ADBU Goes Green with Solar Energy
  • Convocation of Assam Don Bosco
  • Fetal Echocardiography - Seminar held
  • Rejoinder to NPF from NDPP [04 Sep]
  • Divide, divert and rule will not work
  • FA, MU crisis : Issues before LS polls
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON #1 : Gallery
  • Komrem Student Day @Bangalore : Gallery
  • September Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • The Coils of Pakhangba :: Book
  • Physics Program in Don Bosco, Tura
  • Condemns MU VC's vindictive stance
  • 'Policy of India to suppress people'
  • NDPP congratulates Abu Metha
  • Pandey back at MU! Violating spirit of MoA
  • Exhibition @ Art College #2: Gallery
  • AMWJU Sit-In-Protest : Gallery
  • Shri Krishna Janmasthami :: Book
  • Life's heck :: Poem
  • Environment & lung health are vital
  • Innovation for the common man
  • Humanitarian crisis with NRC in Assam
  • Rejoinder to NDPP from NPF [02 Sep]
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • The Story of 40 Pineapple Suckers
  • Rebirth of Manipur Human Rights Comm
  • Yumkhaibam Nanao Eramdam Yaourakhre
  • Lecture: Governance & Public Services
  • X-rated poem :: Poem
  • Ningol Chakkouba Celebration in Delhi
  • Baton changes hands at IGAR (South)
  • Rejoinder to NPF from NDPP [01 Sept]
  • A Wake-up call
  • Lok Sabha polls : More crucial for BJP
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #2: Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2 : Gallery
  • The World of Kuki People :: Book
  • Effects of the Burning of Meitei Puyas
  • Soil Technician required at MaolKeki
  • Jr. Mr. India 2018, Gyanendra Thokchom
  • Rejoinder to HTC & allies' statement
  • Consensual sex..Does it amount to rape ?
  • Need for all to keep their sanity
  • Sanagi Tenawa :: Funga Wari
  • MU: Den of Insurgents or Den of Ideas?
  • Can NRC Update save Assam and NE ?
  • Victim of Enforced Disappearances
  • Admission for Ph.D. at Tripura University
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #1: Gallery
  • Physics Program in Don Bosco College
  • Resolution: Right of Human Right Defender
  • Advancing rights of Human Right Defender
  • Dolaithabi Dam , Senapati : Gallery
  • Eid-Ul-Adhaa Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #1 : Gallery
  • 47th Nagas Annual Meet at Mumbai
  • Transcending Patriots' Day(s) #4
  • Sangai Fest: Fashion Show #2 : Gallery
  • Tikendrajit : The Lion of Manipur #3
  • Dr. Jodhachandra Sanasam : Sahitya
  • Architects announces 1st MADE 2018
  • Expedite FA Rally #2 : Gallery
  • Billie's Book by Ranjeeta Mayanglambam
  • Shougrakpam Bijaya :: A Profile
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Disputed Myanmar Border Pillar : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #3: Gallery
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS