Background and Approach


At the backdrop of a sleepy village lay sprawled across the marshy floating meadows, small hillocks and water of Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), Manipur – the last natural home of Manipur’s Brow-antlered deer or Sangai (Rucervus eldii eldii). The Sangai is one of the most threatened cervids of India found in one, single, isolated population. It is listed as ‘Endangered’ in IUCN Red List and Schedule I of the Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. The Sangai is much loved and revered by the people of Manipur and it symbolises a sacred link between human and the spirit of nature.

Sangai is one of the three sub-species of Eld’s deer found in South and South East Asia. It has adapted itself to a unique habitat of the floating meadows or phumdi at KLNP, a mark difference from the other two. Once distributed throughout the Manipur State, Sangai is now restricted to the 40 sq km area park and is numbered less than 100 adult individuals in the wild making it vulnerable to extinction.  Though there has been an increased positive trend in the population through years of intensive conservation effort, the following threats still prevailed that could prove highly detrimental for its survival.

  • Single, isolated and small population
  • Highly inbred and low genetic diversity
  • Highly specialized and restricted habitat
  • High anthropogenic pressure in terms of biomass extraction
  • Change in vegetation composition of the Park
  • Lack of space and connectivity for recolonisation

In order to curb these threats and secure a long term survival of Sangai in the wild, the Wildlife Institute of India after extensive study and research, has come up with the following goals and objectives:

  • Strengthening of existing population of Sangai in KLNP

-   Monitoring the population trend through scientific monitoring

-   Genetic monitoring of the wild and captive population of Sangai

-   Establishment of veterinary lab

-   Screening and vaccinating livestock around the park

  • Establishment of second population in the wild

-   Survey for possible reintroduction site and development and demarcation of the site.

-   Development of rescue cum conservation breeding centre

-   Requisition of founder population

  • Improve habitat condition and protection measures

-   Proper demarcation of park boundaries on ground.

-   Construction of anti-poaching camps in those areas more vulnerable to poaching as well as resource extraction.

-   Maintenance of perennial boat channel between important sites for regular patrolling.

  • Enhance community participation in conservation

-   Ecodevelopment, livelihood options and awareness generation at KLNP and proposed reintroduction site.

-   Bridging gap between different stakeholders by conducting meetings and utilising the above mentioned routes in the process.

  • Promoting awareness and capacity building

-   Creating awareness that goes beyond local communities, educated people and age limits to help in conservation.

-   Training of forest officials for better scientific management.

-   Development of a management plan to assist in the management and long-term monitoring of Sangai.

  • Conduct applied research and monitoring

-   Continued research and monitoring on the trend of population and habitat to detect any change and to help mitigate any catastrophic events. 

With the funding assistance from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), the Wildlife Institute of India is currently initiating work to achieve the above mentioned goals and objects.