IMPHAL, Nov 25 : Dr SA Hussain, scientist at Wildlife Institute of India has said that all must contribute as a whole to save the endangered Sangai and its natural habitat, the Keibul Lamjao National Park.
Speaking at the ‘International Workshop on Elds’ Deer (Sangai) Conservation’, a joint workshop organised by the State Forest Department and Wildlife Institute of India at Hotel Imphal today, he said that the people should contribute as a whole if they want to protect the endangered Sangai, one of the rarest animals, from extinction and to preserve its natural habitat.
He said, “ Sangai is not found anywhere in the world except Keibul Lamjao. As such, the departments concerned, agencies, organisations and the people should work together in order to protect the endangered animal from extinction. If we do not try now, Sangai will remain only in namesake”.
According to him, only around nine square kilometres of the total 40 square kilometre park are favourable for the animal although new data also showed that around 24 square kilometres of the park were increasingly being favoured by the deer. He pointed out that in order to increase the population of Sangai inside the park, the population of wild boars has to be checked. The wild boars usually target the young fawns, normally below three years of age resulting in high mortality rate of the deer.
Eradication of wild boars from the park would be critical to the survival of Sangai, he added.
Some of the factors affecting the population of Sangai include confinement of habitat only to a single isolated area, risk of diseases, increased risk of mortality, deteriorating habitat condition (reduction in thickness of Phumdi, degradation of water quality, change in plant community etc.), increased biomass demand on the park, lack of connectivity for re-colonisation and increase in poaching and incidental mortality (human exposure).
Dr Hussain stressed that since the mortality rate of Sangai is high, veterinary should put in more efforts and time into research as the chances of the deer getting wiped out due to a sudden outbreak of diseases is quite high. He said that in order to save Sangai, the establishment of a genetically sound second population should be the top priority. Chief Convenor of Forest PN Prasad said, “There are plans for building an eco tourism park inside Keibul Lamjao National Park. This has been done by providing a means for sustenance for the people living around the park as it will bring in more tourists to the park”.
He said that the population of Sangai in 1975 was just 14 but it has steadily increased to 204 in 2013 and 260 in 2016. According to him encroachment by the people living around the park, introduction of domesticated animals in the habitat and reduction of water quality are some factors detrimental to the population of Sangai in the park.
Representatives from Laos PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam also took part in the workshop and discussed steps and measures to improve the condition of the Elds’ deer.
Source: Sangai Express