Threatened species of deer may lose last home

The KLNP situated inside the Loktak lake is the only remaining natural habitat

PTI | November 1, 2011

A critically-endangered species of deer, which has taught itself to walk using only two legs for fear of sinking in the floating biomass of Loktak lake here, is on the verge of losing its last home in the world, warn experts.

Made up of continuous floating biomass vegetation, the Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP) situated inside the lake is the only remaining natural habitat of the 'Sangai', also known as the 'dancing deer' for its unique artistic manoeuvring abilities inside the fragile swamp.

However, negotiating the world's only national floating park located 53 km from here in Bishnupur district is getting dangerous for the brow-antlered deer, whose population is estimated to be less than a hundred.

"Not only has the size of the biomass or 'phumdies' been decreasing over the last few years but its buoyancy and thickness is also getting reduced by the day. The chances of 'Sangais' getting drowned have increased manifold as the capacity of the KLNP to support its weight has decreased," environmentalist R K Ranjan told PTI here.

At places the 'phumdies' have become as thin as one metre. If a Sangai steps on it in search for food or shelter, the 'phumdy' might not be able to sustain its weight leading to its drowning, he says.

This has also restricted the mobility of the elegant deer, increased in-breeding, and made it compete with other wildlife for food, admits Manipur's deputy conservator of forests L Joykumar Singh.

Inside the park spread across an area of 40 sq km, the area deemed safe for 'Sangai' is restricted to merely 9.5 sq km. .

According to the last census conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India in 2008, the mean population of the deer, once declared extinct, has fallen down to an alarming 92.

Ecologists blame the changing nature of 'phumdies' on the hydrological changes in the eco-system which occurred after the water level in the lake was kept at a higher level for NHPC's hydro-power project.

"This increase in water levels has brought the 'phumdies' farther away from the ground making it difficult to draw nutrients from the river bed and support vegetation," N C Talukdar, director of Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development, says.

He warns that with rising temperature due to global warming will lead the biomass to decompose quickly and further reducing its thickness.

Another critical issue for survival of this deer species is pollution in the lake water.

"Besides complicating birth, pollution might result in deformities among the deer. They might even acquire genetic defection, says wildlife expert Kh Shamungou.

A report by Wetlands International holds the inflow of pesticides, chemical fertilisers and domestic sewage as responsible for the deterioration of water quality.

The blocking of the water outlet at Ithai barrage has further aggravated the situation as the freshwater lake is now no more than a water reservoir wherefrom the pollutants can't flow out.

Besides the deteriorating health of the wetland, poaching and encroachment along the KLNP area is also a major concern.

In 2010, six poachers were arrested from Khorda after they had laid a big net to trap the animal, say wildlife department officials.

Over the years, Sangai is also struggling to find food for itself after invasion by a plant known as 'para' grass.

"Para grass expands very quickly and prevents the growth of other plants. The species is invading fast and the more area it covers the less food will be left for Sangai," warns Ranjan.



Other News

BFSI Needs Military-grade Cybersecurity Solutions to Detect the Most Advanced Attacks: Deloitte

In such unprecedented times, businesses are facing different kinds of risk, which has

“New guidelines suppress digital, social media, and OTT platforms”

The government’s recent notification to regulate digital media is an attempt to suppress all social media platforms including digital news platforms, Dr. Shama Mohamed, Congress Spokesperson, has said. Only digital news platforms are able to say what they want to say, so the government

Covaxin Phase 3 clinical trial shows 81% efficacy

India’s first indigenously produced Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, has shown an interim efficacy of 81% in Phase III trials for preventing the virus. Covaxin has been developed in India jointly by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) along with Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL). &

In Mumbai, 29 private hospitals join vaccination drive

In order to expand the vaccination drive, the centre has allowed 29 private hospitals in Mumbai not empanelled in central and state health schemes to be designated as Covid Vaccination Centres (CVC). After a virtual meeting with the chief minister and the BMC commissioner Tuesday evening, th

Spectrum auction concludes; response better than expected

India on Tuesday concluded the spectrum auction after a total of six rounds of bidding. The authorities described the response as better than expected, with total bids valued at Rs 77,814.80 crore. The quality of service and customer experience is expected to improve with deployment of additional spectrum

Covid-19 has increased nutrition gap. Public feeding programmes need to be enhanced

One of the most significant setbacks from the massive upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is its effect on food and nutrition security. The pandemic has compounded the already rampant social inequity by adversely affecting the socio-economic status of millions of families across the nation. In the giv

Visionary Talk Series with Dr. Shama Mohamed On the present state of Governance


Current Issue


Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter