Wildlife Institute of India to relocate endangered 'dancing deer' of Manipur [Biodiversity]
- The scientists of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have been assigned the task to provide second home to 110 Sangai, brow-antlered and one of the most endangered species under Centre's Endangered Species Recovery Project.
- Once distributed throughout much of Southeast Asia extending from Manipur in North eastern India to Indochina, it is now confined in small patches in Manipur (India), Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao Viet Nam and Southern China.
- The Sangai is now restricted to the Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP) in the Southeastern fringe of Loktak Lake in Manipur.
- Phumdis, floating vegetation occupy about two-third of surface area of lake.
- While walking on this floating biomass, Sangai often balances itself which looks as if it is dancing on green grassland and therefore popularly called as "dancing deer" of Manipur. They feed, live and breed on this 9 km area of Phumdis.
- The habitat in the Park is deteriorating primarily because of the change in water regime due to construction of Itahi barrage.
- The phumdi, which used to settle during lean season and get replenished with soil and nourishment, are now continuously floating resulting in their thinning.
- Consequently, so they are unable to bear the weight of deer now. The shelter plants are stunted, mainly due to constant floating of phumdis making Sangai vulnerable to poaching.
- After the commissioning of the Loktak Hydro-Power Project in 1983, large agricultural areas at the lake periphery have been submerged which have changed the economic life of the people making them more dependent on Park.