`Manipuri Ponies are critically endangered`

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Polo and equestrian players taking out ponies' rally. Photo IFP
Polo and equestrian players taking out ponies’ rally.
Photo IFP

IMPHAL, September 28: Polo and equestrian players including both young boys and girls along with 150 Manipuri ponies took out a rally across some areas of Imphal East and Imphal West with the message of saving the Manipuri Pony and to spread awareness about it today.

The rally jointly organised by the Manipuri Pony Society and Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association was flagged off by the Manipuri Pony Society president Ksh Chourajit. It began at the Pony Breeding Farm and passed through Lamphalpat, Thangmeiband, Lamlong Road, Telipati, Soibam Leikai, Kushum Petrol Pump, Thangapat Road, Thumbuthong, Keishamthong, Keshampat, Wahengbam Leikai, Polo Ground, Uripok Kangchup Road, RIMS Road via Canteen and concluded after coming back at the Pony Farm.

Speaking to media persons after the rally, International Polo player and captain of the Manipur Polo team, S Bimol Singh said the rally was carried out to save the Manipuri pony from extinction because it has given an identity to Manipur through Shagol Kangjei and Polo.

It is disheartening because if the pony vanishes than our traditional games will also vanish and that`™s why we took out the rally to spread awareness to the people to help save the Manipuri pony, he said urging the government also to take necessary steps to save the pony.

Manipuri Pony Society secretary N Ibungochoubi said the procession rally was taken out under a specific theme to spread awareness about the dwindling number of ponies in Manipur.

`In 2003, the number of Manipuri ponies was 1893 and in 2007 the number of ponies was 1218. After that an unofficial random survey conducted by the Manipuri Pony Society and various Polo clubs have found that less than 500 pony exist in Manipur now. According to international norms, any species found to be lesser than 2000 is considered `endangered` and a species is considered to be critically endangered if the number of fertile females which have given birth is less than 400`, he said.

He further said that they took out the rally to spread awareness about the Manipuri pony as its fate was in a precarious situation and so that people can help save our ponies which belong to the whole State.

Yaileima Yumnam, a young women polo player taking part in rally said that we ought to save our culture and should save the Manipuri pony from extinction.

The Manipuri Pony Society also submitted a memorandum to the Commerce and Industries minister Govindas Konthoujam who also holds the Sericulture and Vet nary and Animal Husbandry portfolio. The memorandum contains three major demands such as the declaration of the Manipuri pony as critically endangered, the framing of a special Manipuri Pony and Polo policy and reserving grazing and natural habitat s for the ponies by some act.

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