TODAY -

The Sangai

A CRY IN THE WILDERNESS

The Sangai - the endemic, rare and endangered Manipur Brow-antlered deer (Cervus eldi eldi Mclelland) - faces an uncertain fate today. The deer species, fending for itself in its last safe refuge in the wild at Keibul Lamjao, is caught in the phenomenal conflict between development and the natural environment. Humans, supposed to be the guardian angel of the Sangai, have been the very reason for the threat on the existence of this highly spoken of deer species.

Sangai: Brow-antlered deer           Sangai - Brow-Antlered Deer

Sangai in Manipur Society:
For reasons historical and social, closely associated with the cultural life of the Manipuris, the Sangai has attached importance for Manipur and its people. In fact, the Sangai assumes a significant symbol of precious heritage - the natural and the material heritage - that in more than one ways identifies Manipur and its people to the rest of the world community.

Culturally, the Sangai finds itself imbedded deep into the legends and folklore of the Manipuris. Based on a popular folk legend, the Sangai is interpreted as the binding soul between humans and the nature. The slaying of the Sangai, an unpardonable sin, is conceived as the rude breaking up of the cordial relationship between humans and the nature. When humans love and respect the Sangai, it is respecting nature. In the Sangai, therefore, humans find a way of expressing their love for the nature. Socially, the Sangai is the symbol of a prized possession of the State. Identified as one of the rarest animal species in the entire world, the Sangai is the eye of the apple for the people. Talk of Manipur, and one of the first things to introduce the State is the Sangai, other than polo, its classical dance, sports and films.

Present status:
In March 1999, the annual Sangai census recorded around 149 heads in the Keibul Lamjao National Park, KLNP. This last natural habitat of the deer - covering a total of 40.5 sq.km with a core zone area of 15 sq.km, is peculiar by itself as it is mostly made up of the floating biomass locally known as Phumdi. The KLNP forms part of the southern portion of the greater Loktak lake, and so the park is within the water body area of the Loktak. It is for this reason that the park has often been termed as the 'only floating national park in the world'.

The Sangai faces a two-pronged danger to its life. Firstly, its habitat is steadily degenerating by reason of continuous inundation and flooding by high water caused as the result of artificial reservoir of the Loktak hydroelectric power project. Secondly, poachers are out there to trap and slay the deer at the slightest opportunity. In February 1998 poachers trapped two Sangai doe inside the KLNP, killing both female.
In 1983 the 103 Megawatt capacity Loktak hydroelectric power project was commissioned with the objective of ensuring rapid development in the State. One failure of the project has been that it has never been able to provide regular power supply to the villages in the Loktak lake periphery. And a very disturbing effect of the project has been its share of harm to the ecology and the environment of the Loktak, threatening the lake ecosystem, the humans and their lands, the wildlife, and all other life forms dependent on the lake for their living.

A maximum high water level of 168.5 meter above MSL is maintained in the Loktak Lake to feed the reservoir for the hydel project. At this level, much of the land on the periphery of the lake had been submerged under water, rendering huge loss of productive agricultural lands and localised fish culture farms. On the other hand, this high water level had wreaked havoc in the KLNP. The high water level, maintained continuously through the year, had disturbed the natural life cycle of the vegetation growth, the phumdi, upon which the Sangai thrives. The deer feed on several types of vegetation that grow on the phumdi. The vegetation also provides shelter to the deer and other wildlife in the park.

The life-cycle of the phumdi involves floating on the water surface during season of high water as in the monsoons. In the lean season, when the water level reduces, the biomass come into contact with the lake bed and they secure the required nutrient from there. When the rains come again and they become afloat, the biomass have enough 'food' - the nutrient - stored in their roots and their life continues. What is happening now, according to local scientists who are studying the phenomena, is that with continuous high water in the lake throughout the year much of this process of 'feeding' on the nutrient in the lakebed had discontinued. The result - the biomass are losing weight and getting thinner by the year. Around January last week in 1999, it was reported that a large chunk of the biomass in the northern part of KLNP had broken up into pieces and had drifted freely from the park area. This was a bad sign for the Sangai habitat. It spelt out very clearly that the beginning of the end of the Sangai habitat had begun.

Very recently this year, reports came in about local people cutting up the phumdi into sizeable pieces and then towing away these with dugout canoe for 'selling' to fish culture owners. This is another potential danger to the Sangai habitat. It meant humans are now aiding the process of annihilating the habitat area, supplementing to the rapid degeneration of the habitat.

Conclusion:
The Sangai - a jewel in the crown for Manipur - is one of the most unfortunate animals living in the world today. Human activity - read development process - had caused extensive damage to its last natural habitat, threatening its very existence. Humans continue to hunt and slay the deer on the sly in spite of legislation (Manipur Wildlife Protection Rules 1974) and public outcry. There is no State sponsored conservation programme for securing the safety of the deer and its habitat. Manipur is poised to lose this animal wealth, forever, if timely help do not come now.

Courtesy : Salam Rajesh
Other articles by the same author...
| Khayang Lily | | Winter in Dzuko | About Mate | Kangla Impasse |

* 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
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #1 :: Gallery
  • Paominthang, Nengpilhing, Boisang :: eMing
  • Lucifer-X : debut EP 'Project Xtermination'
  • How Asian Charter for Human Rights be..
  • ... trail of fake encounters by Supreme Court
  • Mapithel dam plan: A stare on rationality
  • Cry of a Dying River - 2 :: Poem
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Include Meiteis in ST list demand
  • Of rationality & keeping the promises
  • Wabgai Keithel :: Gallery
  • Death Anniv- Bhagyachandra #4 :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #4 :: Gallery
  • Irawat the Legend #1
  • Hydro Electric Power: A must for Manipur #2
  • Jiri-Tupul-Imphal rail & bullet train
  • 'Warepnaba Meepham' of STDCM
  • Demand of Meetei in ST : Delhi Protest
  • Demands probe into Punjab journo-murder
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Politically motivated creating confusion: ZYF
  • India, Asean car rally in Nov
  • NSCN-IM prays for early solution
  • Since dead man tells no tale....
  • Product @Langbal Keithel #1:: Gallery
  • Death Anniv- Bhagyachandra #3 :: Gallery
  • Written Exam for CDPO postphoned
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irabot :: Read all him..
  • Manipur Assembly Elections 2017 #1
  • Ekai Thabi- Aquatic vegetable cash crop
  • Message to the Meiteis living abroad
  • A Cloud of Dust :: Poem
  • Jobs in IT Cell at C-DAC Silchar
  • Making change to education scenario
  • 107 illegal migrants pushed back
  • Deficit monsoon rains in most of NE
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #1 :eRang
  • AIM, Khabam Vs NEROCA FC :: Gallery
  • Yumnam Yaima : Manipuri Sahitya Parishad
  • Langol Watch Tower #5 :: 360 ° View
  • FIR against fmr CM Ibobi in MDS scam
  • Protest demanding justice for Pravish
  • Killing Of Tripura Journalist
  • Idiotic stand of making Hindi compulsory
  • September and Hijam Irabot
  • Death Anniv- Bhagyachandra #2 :: Gallery
  • National Repentance Day :: Gallery
  • Chasing Tidal Waves by Lo! Peninsula
  • Volleyball tournament at Chingai, Ukhrul
  • Condemns murder of Shantanu Bhowmik
  • Condemns scribe's murder in Tripura
  • Deep grief over another assassination
  • Suspicious death of missing youth in Noida
  • Protest outside UP Bhawan in Delhi
  • Bigger threat from Bangla immigrants
  • Of war, wine and women
  • A trip to Moreh #1 :: Gallery
  • Death Anniv- Bhagyachandra #1 :: Gallery
  • Breach of Privilege & Contempt of the House
  • Career option in History
  • Cry of a Dying River - 1 :: Poem
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Condemn provocation against Pangal
  • Meetei Demand Of Scheduled Tribe @ Delhi
  • Resolutions adopted by NPF Central HQs
  • TSA-GHQ calls off agitation
  • Diverting filled cylinders from hills
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #6 : Ooba
  • History of Printing in Manipur
  • Hydro Electric Power: A must for Manipur #1
  • Why Total Knee Replacement is necessary
  • Self-styled godmen and mental darkness
  • The Dawn of Knowledge :: Poem
  • Consideration for Govt on UTLA camp attack
  • Bloody Phanek premiere in South Korea
  • Memo to Satywati College against Hindi
  • NE militant in Myanmar may face problem
  • Putting the limelight on O Ibobi
  • Bamboo - our green treasure
  • Jadonang: Indomitable faith of martyrdom
  • 12th Manipur State League #3:: Gallery
  • Cyberbullying
  • British rule in India: blessing or curse?
  • Candle light for Pravish Chanam at Delhi
  • Concern over Cambodia media crackdown
  • Present crisis a blessing for NPF: MLA
  • Medical Camp at Tokpaching, Chandel
  • High promises, high expectations : BJP Govt
  • Traffic regulation still yet be improved
  • Traditional Ritual @Khurkhul #4 :: Gallery
  • Athokpam Tomchou :: Sahityabhusan
  • Kanglasha & Kangla Fort :: 360 ° View
  • Mapithel Dam: Tumukhong village's sorrow
  • Earthen Pots of Thongjao :: Poem
  • Culturals @ Pineapple Fest #2 :: Gallery
  • MSL: NISA Vs FC Zalen :: Gallery
  • Fund the Athlete: Support Sumanta Naorem
  • Carbon Sequestration Vs Agroforestry tree
  • PHYNYX changes name & going global
  • NEFIS reaches HM on Pravish death
  • Expecting the expectation
  • Priyogopal : Senior Film Artist :: eRang
  • Ningtham Charei fashion catwalk :: Gallery
  • My Japanlan memoir after 4 score yrs- D
  • Candle light: Justice for Pravish Chanam
  • Science as a Christian vocation
  • Yesterday Today and Tomorrow :: Poem
  • Early Childhood Education Impact Study
  • Condemn the attitude of Noida Police
  • Protest at Noida SSP's office
  • A Child Cannot Decide Its Parent
  • Notification from COHSEM for Class XI
  • Threat to ban movement of non-local
  • Re-defining Mr. Clean perspectives
  • Hathei Phanit @Sirarakhong :: Gallery
  • Education in Manipur- reform & vision
  • Career option in Political Science
  • A Robe of Love :: Poem
  • Memo to CM regarding dead in Noida
  • Meghalaya edition of NH7 Weekender
  • Away from Imphal centric: Govt-Hills Bhai!
  • Panchayat election matters...
  • Reception for CM at CCPur :: Gallery
  • 239th Heikru Hidongba #2 :: Gallery
  • Buddha Said: The More The Govt... #2
  • R & R anomaly in Mapithel dam
  • Letting go :: Poem
  • Bedtime beauty hacks to look young
  • Warepnaba Meefam Saruk Yabiyu
  • Civil Sectt crawling at snail pace
  • Perplexity trends
  • Heitha Leithaba @Kekrupat #2:: Gallery
  • Ningtham Charei :: Fashion Show
  • ISKCON Temple, Imphal #2 :: 360 ° View
  • Remote Villages conditions remain same
  • General Meeting & Social Gathering of EMA
  • Leadership management
  • Karo Sambhav School Program at Tripura
  • Blood Donation Camp at RIMS
  • Another spell of cooking gas shortage
  • Parking paralysis
  • Manipur Univ of Culture #3 :: Gallery
  • Sub Junior Boys Basketball #2 :: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram: NE Excellence Award
  • Manipuri in Proto-Sino-Tibetan Family
  • Lamka: Urban character with rural admin
  • MUTA Colloquium : 3 decades of teaching
  • IIHEd Seminar : The Rohingya Conundrum
  • Inter Village Volley Ball at Chandel
  • Trafficking story from CCpur
  • Local body election matters
  • Pottery Crafts of Manipur #1 :: Gallery
  • Techniche, IIT Guwahati :: Gallery
  • Anger begets hope & constructive action
  • World's oldest Parliamentarian
  • Convocation of Assam Don Bosco Univ.
  • Times I Live In :: Poem
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Date with Sep 11 : Setting new benchmarks
  • Angaoba Film Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • My Japanlan memoir after 4 score years- C
  • Flood & Ithai Barrage: A brief reflection
  • Indigenous people must be consulted...
  • When a Star Finally Dies :: Poem
  • Job openings at The Rice Company
  • Lesson need to learn from Gouri Lankesh
  • Sumi Hoho calls on Nagaland CM
  • #NeverStop Guwahati: fitness enthusiasts
  • Protests against Myanmar govt
  • Culturals @ Pineapple Fest #1 :: Gallery
  • 12th Manipur State League #1:: Gallery
  • Tete a tete with the Education Minister
  • Freak and frank job interview
  • Buddha Said: The More The Govt... #1
  • Dichtung und Wahrheit :: Poem
  • Protest: Myanmar for persecuting Rohingya
  • Subroto Football under 14 yrs at Delhi
  • Performance anxiety: and its election again
  • Heitha Leithaba @Kekrupat #1:: Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba Definition: Bijoy Govinda
  • Shri Shri Govindaji Temple #2 :: 360 ° View
  • Era gone with Rishang Keishing demise
  • International Literacy Day, 2017
  • De-notify Disturbed Area tag & repeal AFSPA
  • State level Teacher's Day :: Gallery
  • Half Step Rock signs up PHYNYX, now 'LEN'
  • Day 3 at Techniche IIT Guwahati
  • Condemns murder of Bengaluru journalist
  • Bhoot Ki Thoujal :: Funga Wari
  • 52nd Hunger Marchers' Day #3 :: Gallery
  • Kang Tournament #2 :: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Week #2 :: Gallery
  • Id-ul-Zuha @ Hatta, Minuthong :: Gallery
  • Tribute to Rishang Keishing #3 :: Gallery
  • Haipou Jadonang day :: Gallery
  • Xth Pineapple Fest @CCpur :: Gallery
  • Ige KNliye kabita Ama :: Seireng
  • State bids adieu to Rishang :: Gallery
  • Rishang Keishing : A profile
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Nungbi Khullen, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS