KEIBUL LAMJAO, March 29 - Manipur Forest department and wildlife experts along with local volunteers have started a fresh Census on Tuesday to find the latest number of the endangered brow antlered deer popularly known as Sangai in its natural habitat.
Rucervus eldii eldii or Sangai deer, one of the rarest deers on Earth, live on floating land masses in Keibul Lamjao National Park, world’s only floating reserve covering 40 square km area. The reserve is a part of the 246 sq km Loktak Lake in Bishnupur district, located about 50 km from here.
“We have started the first round of Census across 32 spots in association with volunteers of social and voluntary organisations,” said a Forest official. “We are expecting a growth in the number of Sangai compared to the last Census”, he added.
The second and third round of Census will be held on March 31 and April 2.
The last Census, carried out in March, 2013, put the Sangai population at 204. Of these, 90 were stags or males, 86 hinds or females and 28 fawns. In 2003, the deer population in the habitat was 180.
More than 70 volunteers including representatives from Wildlife Institute of India, People’s For Animals, Sangai Protection Forum, Unique Wildlife Protection Committee took part in the four hour-long Census in the park today.
“We spotted more than 40 Sangai near Chingngungkok side while few of them were seen at Chingjao side,” said environmentalist K Jugeshwor, who took part in the Census.
On January 9 this year, Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar conducted a ground assessment of the Park, only habitat of endangered Sangai, to nominate the park as a World Heritage Site.