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
  • Prison Diary of Lamyanba NK Sanajaoba
  • Manipur Hockey Website launched : Gallery
  • The reality of life :: Poem
  • Mathematics in our lives
  • Girl Child : Marching towards a new horizon
  • Herbal beauty tips
  • A thought on the Nation's Republic Day
  • Saving Manipuri pony & polo
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Aton Yaiphengba, Hekim: eMing
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • What does civility require.. just principle
  • Nine Hills, One Valley : Special Film award
  • Bhuban cave: Holy place of TRC people #2
  • Let's get sneakered - Art & Music event
  • 50 years of existence as a State
  • A New World : Post COVID-19
  • Statehood Day Celebration 2021 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Questions over commissioning Mapithel Dam
  • Gender equality and human rights
  • Manipur first among NE in Innovation Index
  • Becoming mommy - Yes or No ?
  • Student Induction Program at Lilong Haoreibi
  • Uniform academic session
  • Bedlam beginning
  • Grandfather of Uipo Language- Mosel Khaling
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Lt Col Rajeev Bakshi : The Tiger of Tipaimukh
  • Cleanliness Program at Lilong Haoreibi
  • Racism at its worst
  • Gita - An antidote for life in Kali #3
  • Ultimatum from UNC
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #14
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Municipal Council, Kakching Khunou
  • Disaster :: Poem
  • Signs of cervical cancer
  • Training Programme on Mushroom Cultivation
  • JCILPS for more teeth to ILPS
  • Wildfire in Dzuko, Senapati #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • IM says it's "deeply committed" to solution
  • Making of a General :: Book Review
  • Jesus, markets, state, & silenced dialogue
  • Logistics as career option
  • 'Solution expected anytime soon'
  • COVID-19 vaccination [Jan 16] #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Bhuban cave: Holy place of TRC people #1
  • Police Guest House CCpur : Gallery
  • Know-how for using herbicides in rice
  • Too much too good ?
  • Roll up the sleeves for Covid shot
  • COVID-19 vaccination [Jan 16] #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Empowering women through sports
  • Dzuko 'the Nagmani'
  • 3rd foundation day- National Sport University
  • Research & Publication Ethics Workshop
  • Living Legends of Manipur : Wall Calendar
  • Cong existence felt, will it survive?
  • Day light Thabal Chongba #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • School Fagathanshi @Leimapokpam: Gallery
  • The voice inside me :: Poem
  • Let's embrace youths self esteem
  • Gita - An antidote for life in Kali #2
  • Bedtime beauty hacks to look young
  • Menace on the roads of Imphal
  • Hill Valley bondage strengthened
  • Narcotic Drugs disposal @Lamlai #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Shachi Gurumayum honoured overseas Indian
  • Enthusiasm of LFCA's children
  • Energy Conservation Material Management
  • Commandant 12th Bn NDRF called on CM
  • Water education for sustainability
  • Postpone Public Hearing on Gender Policy
  • Students at the forefront
  • Fuelling the anger
  • COVID Vaccine arrived @ Airport : Gallery
  • Major (Dr) Laishram Jyotin, Ashoka Chakra
  • Mushroom training program at Langmeidong
  • 5 years of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
  • Drugs ki lansu amani
  • 3rd State Level Jump Rope Championship
  • Vaccine and low count of infection
  • Human fails to learn lessons from Corona
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #13
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • National Youth Day at Lilong Haoreibi
  • Face it all together: threat of pandemics
  • Majuli - India's only river island district
  • More of a question when, not should
  • Tungjoy re-visited
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID Vaccination Meeting with PM: Gallery
  • Fruits & Vegetables grown in North East #2
  • 18th BIG Call : Biotechnology Grant
  • Trade hate for love : Blissful 2021
  • Jump Rope (Judges & Referees) Exam
  • Connecting via Jiri
  • Dhanamanjuri University & its Identity Crisis
  • INA's Honour at the Battle of Imphal
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Ima Keithel @ Kanglatongbi/Sekmai : Gallery
  • Aromatic Oil Extraction training at Huishu
  • Tulihal - Our sweet old local airport
  • Gita - An antidote for life in Kali #1
  • Training on Mushroom at Nagamapal
  • The call for new normal still stands
  • 187 Death Anniv- Maharaj Gambhir : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Biocontrol of Parthenium for biodiversity #2
  • A message from mother nature :: Poem
  • New year resolution & complication
  • NEP-2020 : A new Landscape in Education
  • Wildfire in Dzuko, Senapati #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Satyamala : Most Fortunate Manipuri Princess
  • Transforming economy of the kingdom of God
  • Events and celebration as career
  • How to protect your lips in winter
  • Poppy plantation & drug trafficking
  • We Continue To Strive Forward
  • Press Club Foundation Day : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Bereavement : Grief Reaction
  • Emergency Response System : Gallery
  • This world :: Poem
  • Bitter truth
  • Re-opening and rethinking border trade
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 # 12
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Fruits & Vegetables grown in North East #1
  • Life goes on !
  • Naga Rapper Macnivil - New Music Video
  • Awareness Prog with Women Commission
  • Farm Acts need of the hour
  • Imphal on eve of New Year 2021 #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Cold Storage @ Bishnupur Bazar : Gallery
  • Pronoia - The sociological antidote to corona
  • New Year 2021 :: Poem
  • Careers opportunity in Fashion Industry
  • Economic growth: A mirage so far
  • The law of Habit
  • Zeilad Lake in Tamenglong #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Biocontrol of Parthenium for biodiversity #1
  • Child Nutrition and their future
  • Guilt free self love - Not a sin!
  • 'Anguish over wild fire at Dziikou Valley'
  • Another message for another year
  • Lamphelpat: Victim of unplanned urbanisation
  • Politics and the War Against Drug
  • Ibudhou Marongkhong Haraoba #4 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn the Manipuri script
  • Linguistic Society of America 2020 to Manipur
  • Time for Modi-Shah duo to ink the final pact
  • Vanishing Lamphelpat calls for conservation
  • New Community Centre at Ningthoukhong
  • Disturbed Area status: An unwelcome gift
  • Paona Independence League of Burma #3
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Presentation of Tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Manipur's super cops
  • The passing moment- clock of life :: Poem
  • Executive Committee of 2021-22 YMC
  • Take care of your hands this winter
  • RK Bhubonsana : Profile- Literature Awardee
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Prayers to honourable Home Minister
  • Book Release of Cheerom Meihoubarol
  • Chronicling activity of Veterans in Manipur #2
  • Biswajit Basu as Director (Projects), NHPC
  • Imphal on eve of New Year 2021 #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar :: 2021
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #6: Gallery
  • Bidding Goodbye 2020 with a toast of Corona
  • Let us not down NK Sanajaoba's Spirit
  • Dr Konika Khuraijam- SDP Achievers Award
  • One Day Adventure Programme at Lamdan
  • On stepping into a brand New Year
  • Welcome 2021: Will it be another happy days
  • Romita Yumnam is Mrs Jhansi 2020 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Mrs Romita Yumnam crowned Mrs Jhansi 2020
  • Year's End - 2020 :: Poem
  • Bye - Bye 2020 :: Poem
  • Maya Kuki in top 25 in Mrs Universe 2020
  • 2020: Decisive for the BJP in Manipur
  • The other side of Amit Shah & Manipuri talent
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #11
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • The cry of a disgruntled citizen
  • KVRSS Annual Research Awards 2020-21
  • Manage to reduce it
  • Life is a matter of choices
  • Painting Competition : Right to Information
  • New virus strain: The world is worried
  • Mayang Imphal Keithel #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • January Calendar for Year 2021 : Tools
  • Shanti Thokchom #43 : Trip to Grand Canyon
  • 2020 as the 'Year of Science'
  • Sampurna Raas Leela at Guwahati
  • Significant 2 hours delay in leaving lmphal
  • Biren will be Chief Ministerial candidate
  • Amit Shah @Imphal [Dec 27] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Organic cultivation of tomato
  • Xmas during pandemic - a time to reflect
  • Reviews of Loktak Downstream Project
  • Amit Shah: Man behind ILP in Manipur
  • S Lonphai, Henglep Sub-div, CCpur : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Christmas greetings
  • Halls of Ivy - a lament :: Poem
  • Remembering Jesus- A lonely 'Carpenter'..
  • Beauty oils: The solution for dry winter skin
  • Of Manipur and HM visits
  • Works of Haobam Paban Kumar #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Pukhrambam Narjit : Asangbi Sanagi Medal
  • Community health work is work
  • Chronicling activity of Veterans in Manipur #1
  • What are friends for ?
  • Discontinuation of Traditional Elopement
  • Christmas Traditions :: Book
  • Lessons from COVID-19: Universal healthcare
  • Getting bronze medal in drinking
  • Manipur on the way to development
  • Towards Atmanirbhar Cities
  • NSCN (K) in talk mode
  • Still murky news from Manipur University
  • Paona Independence League of Burma #2
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Dec : Govt of Manipur
  • Christmas 2020: Pandemic time Choice
  • Winter woods :: Poem
  • Cultivation practices of Soybean in Manipur
  • Laishram Mema honoured at Mumbai
  • Blow out the old, ring in the new
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #10
  • School Fagathanshi Mission : Gallery
  • Yongchak: The Dying Bean in Manipur
  • Khamba Thoibi Jagoi at JNMDA #1: Gallery
  • 84 yrs recovers from C0VID-19 at Ukhrul
  • Azolla : A potential biofertiliser for rice
  • Boring 2020
  • War on Drugs campaign : Drawing attention
  • War on Drugs: The uncheck loopholes
  • Cherry Blossom at Mao #1: Gallery
  • CM visit to Senapati: Gallery
  • Festive mood in CCpur for Xmas: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Thanga #2: Gallery
  • Persons with Disabilities [Dec 15] : Gallery
  • State level Nupi Lan Day : Gallery
  • Langban Lam-Haiba @ Andro #2: Gallery
  • Sory Wahengbam - Actress Gallery :: eRang
  • COVID patient cast vote @Wangoi : Gallery
  • 'Zehara' - Manipuri Movie :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS