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
  • Imphal Ring Road and violations
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Schools in Jiribam : Gallery
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Condemns attack on Student at B'lore
  • World Lung Day 2021
  • Equal pay for work of equal value
  • Training on Mushroom Cultivation
  • The sixth sense manifest :: Poem
  • Tarpon Katpa @ Loktak #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Land transfer commotion in Jiribam
  • Seminar On Youth & Environment organised
  • Irawat the Legend #2
  • 6 from Manipur cleared Civil Services Exam
  • World Pharmacist Day 2021
  • Scapegoating foot soldiers
  • The battered body says it all
  • World Alzheimer's Day : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • World Alzheimer's Day 2021 commemorated
  • MaolKeki Scholarship at St Stephen College
  • Condemnation on killing of Athuan Abonmai
  • Sana Leibak Manipur
  • Feelings :: Poem
  • Nominal monetary solace to Covid victims
  • Abducted from under the nose of cops!
  • Guru Leimapokpam Lakpati: Nata Sankritan
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Vanijya Utsav @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Truth should prevail over ethnic politics
  • Projects for Tamenglong & Noney
  • Changes :: Poem
  • Good road must to reap fruit of Act East
  • Rio, Sarma taken on board?
  • Discussion: Merger Agreement 1949 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Safe maternal and newborn care
  • Mourns demise of Naba Chakthekpi
  • Admin & Business Support @ R-Square
  • International Peace Day on Sept 21 2021
  • Customer Service Reps @ Amber & Arthur
  • Prioritising election, ignoring Covid-19
  • Not the time to let the guard down
  • Mova Cave, Hunpung, Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Irawat the Legend #1
  • Leishangthem Dhanachandra ..rears Sareng
  • Economic devpt & climate deterioration?
  • Detachment without Resentment
  • Wishful thinking for end to election-money
  • Drugs & manufacturing units within State
  • Kanglasha Kaba Khanba removal #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Sep 20, a crucial week for Nagaland
  • Lord's echo :: Poem
  • Jobs opening at Changerline, Imphal
  • In search of roots
  • Opposition cosy up as poll date nears
  • The end of RN Ravi's saga
  • 27th August 1965 : Birth of students force
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • World's largest adult vaccination program
  • 2nd State Level Yogasana Sports C'ship
  • Just survival is enough :: Poem
  • Add oats to your beauty regime
  • Thri Kappi Sanaba @Andro #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Legal Campaign [17 Sep] : Gallery
  • Demise of Padma Shri Thongram Haridas
  • Legal Awareness & Outreach Campaign
  • Changes that the time brings :: Poem
  • AMWJU Foundation Day [16 Sep] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Mapping the Changemakers of NE India
  • Will inclusion centrestage at Equality Forum
  • World ozone day & the living beings
  • Understanding CAT
  • Eternally struggling Manipuri women
  • Posers on the Interlocutor
  • Zeilad Lake, Tamenglong #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Report on 54th Engineers Day 2021
  • Social Media & Political Campaigning
  • What if ? :: Poem
  • Condolence prayer for Oscar Fernandes
  • Virus threat not over yet
  • The virus is still out there!
  • RIMS, Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Nagaland CM Rio calls Ravi 'genuine' man
  • Role of media in combating Covid
  • One day business shut-down in Dimapur
  • The warning bell is ringing loud & clear
  • Anxiety over arrival of train service
  • Choosing candidate the first step
  • Raghu Leishangthem : Manipuri Poet Biodata
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Memo to CM : Inclusion of Meetei in ST
  • Without you :: Poem
  • Lessons from the pandemic
  • ICS (IAS) viva voce of Khushwant Singh
  • Blaming predecessor till near end of term
  • Questioning truce pacts with others
  • ILP & COVID checking @Jirighat : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Webinar: Higher Edn & Career in USA & UK
  • Prostate Cancer: Know its warning signals
  • Hope heals crisis :: Poem
  • AFSPA in NE amid peace accords
  • TSE completes 22 years : 1999 to 2021
  • Pathetic Road @Imphal-Jiri : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • National Lok Adalat in High Court of Manipur
  • On tourism in the Northeast
  • The Dement Corona Avoids :: Poem
  • The prism of relationships
  • Reappraisal of early Meitei settlement
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Royal Charter Day celebrated
  • Poshan Abhiyaan : A people's movement
  • MTech in Defence Tech at Amrita Univ
  • Ethno-Veterinary medicine in livestock
  • Power dept employees eyeing soft target
  • Taking a look at issues in 2012, 2017
  • Meetei Leikai @, Silchar, Assam #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • The uncle conundrum
  • Himalayan Day : Science & Knowledge
  • Pandemic : changing dynamics of preschool
  • Common factors that enhance beauty
  • Another peace deal sans solution..
  • Rolling up sleeves ahead of Assembly polls
  • Development, Ethnicity & Gender : Book Rvw
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • World Suicide Prevention Day 2021
  • 'bob World' : Mobile application launched
  • Glimpses of Love :: Poem
  • How much more ordeal can Afghans take?
  • Tall claims on reforming agriculture sector
  • The commandments from WHO
  • Burma refugees yes or no ?
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Biotechnology Grant (BIG) for startups
  • Teaching as a career in India
  • Epitome of impeccable humanity & humility
  • Role of CSOs vital in preventing virus
  • Disturbing high TPR in some hill districts
  • Fine Arts Exhibition MU #3: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Immune boosting for lactating women
  • Give up on fear not dreams !
  • Stop plantation of Palm Oil Trees in NE
  • Another Perspective of Life :: Poem
  • ..right recipe for bitter electioneering
  • Debate over ST status for Meiteis
  • Jadonang in History :: Part 2
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Athokpam Kholchandra : Dr Kamal Kabiratna
  • Remembering Lord Krishna appearance day
  • Sustainable livestock farming
  • After 9 years, thirst to serve unchanged
  • Disturbing TPR in some districts
  • Saikhom Mirabai: Olympics #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • World Sexual Health Day in Manipur
  • Save The Peace : Conf on Indo-Naga peace
  • Teachers, I salute thee !
  • The Art of Living :: Poem
  • Bongbal Kholen, Kangpokpi #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Art Festival 2021 canceled
  • Towards a new Manipur Budget 2022-23
  • Inauguration of NPF Manipur Head Office
  • Natural facial at home for glowing skin
  • School yearning to resume normal class
  • The uproar over Urea 'shortage'
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Sep : Govt of Manipur
  • Pundit Raja Atombapu : Doyen of journalism
  • Friends :: Poem
  • Meeting report at Cachar, Assam
  • Indigenous peoples & a new social contract
  • Pseudo-indigene permanent threat to native
  • Heavy rush for admission to Class XI
  • Jadonang in History :: Part 1
  • Memorial Stone & Shaheed Minar : Gallery
  • An officer and a gentleman
  • Mass production of biofertilisers
  • Kannappa Naayanaar - World 1st Eye Donor
  • Will election ruin gains made in virus fight
  • Signing off August with lowest TPR
  • Keidoubagi Kidoino on COVID #3: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • September Calendar for Year 2021 : Tools
  • Revisiting all alphabets of Article 371
  • Abdication :: Poem
  • Need a softer approach to language issue
  • 2022 polls: Tough task for Congress
  • Party hopping antics before the election
  • Death Anniv: Shimreingam Shaiza: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Khangminashi Lecture VIII : Electric Vehicle
  • Ardent Gardener :: Poem
  • Vision Correction doesn't need a doctor
  • No place for Meetei in Heritage Museum?
  • Ordinary testing rate can't beat the virus
  • Why not make it a poll call
  • 90th Martyr Day- Haipou Jadonang : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Aug : Govt of Manipur
  • Cycle Rally- Natl Sports Day, MU : Gallery
  • Looking beyond the next 4 months
  • Laonii Fest of Poumai #2 : Gallery
  • Phuba Khuman, Senapati #2 : Gallery
  • 13th August @BT Park #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur Olympians reception : Gallery
  • Mary Kom reception- Aug 20: Gallery
  • Hijam Gourashyam : Manipur Sahitya
  • 13th August @BT Park #1 : Gallery
  • Sushila Likmabam reception- Aug 18: Gallery
  • S Nilakanta / P Sushila [Aug 11] #2 : Gallery
  • 13th August by CSOs : Gallery
  • 13th August @Thangal Complex : Gallery
  • 13th August @Hicham Yaicham Pat : Gallery
  • RK Sanayaima on 13th August : Gallery
  • S Nilakanta / P Sushila [Aug 11] #1 : Gallery
  • Mirabai felicitated truck drivers: Gallery
  • Saikhom Mirabai @Imphal #3: Gallery
  • Saikhom Mirabai @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • HSLC 2021 Result: Statistics Abstract
  • HSLC 2021 Result: 1st Division
  • HSLC 2021 Result: 2nd Division
  • HSLC 2021 Result: 3rd Division
  • HSLC 2021 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2021 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2021 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • Saikhom Mirabai @ Kakching: Gallery
  • HSE 2021 Result: Statistics Abstract
  • HSE 2021 Result: Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2021 Result: District-Wise Pass %
  • HSE 2021 Result: Science Stream
  • HSE 2021 Result: Arts Stream
  • HSE 2021 Result: Commerce Stream
  • Shanglakpam Nilakanta: Olympics #2: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2021 #3: Gallery
  • Sushila Pukhrambam :: Olympics : Gallery
  • Saikhom Mirabai : Tokyo Olympics 2020
  • Pukhrambam Sushila : Tokyo Olympics Dream
  • Sushila Likmabam: Olympics Dream: Gallery
  • Lalginsei, Radamchui, Ngaworpei: eMing
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar :: 2021
  • SPONSORED ADS