Community Action to Protect the Sangai Deer, India

The endangered Sangai deer is found only in Manipur and in the marshy wetlands of the floating park at the southern end of Loktak Lake. This is the largest fresh water lake in Eastern India, one of seven Ramsar sites of international importance. The deer is threatened by poaching, fishing activities, reduction in food, inbreeding and disease, flooding of habitat and drowning.
 
Sangai Deer
Sangai Deer

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The Project

This project will prevent encroachment and overexploitation of habitat resources and poaching through environmental education progammes. It will address Sangai food shortages caused by flooding in rainy seasons by planting food plants at higher areas in the park, reduce drowning during flood through construction of dry shelters or patches at elevated locations and vaccination of deer for communicable diseases and treatment sick animals. Finally, 4 watch towers will be constructed within the habitat to enable volunteers and tourists to watch the deer and identify any dangers and poaching activities.
 
Latok Lake
Latok Lake

The Update

This project had experienced problems getting underway due to general strikes in the area during the summer of 2015, followed by floods just a month later which affected the project villages.  However since then, good progress has  been made.
- volunteers have been trained to identify suitable food plants for the Sangai deer and seeds have been collected and plants propagated to increase the animals’ food supply
- 15 raised dry platforms have been constructed to give the deer shelter during the rainy season
- production of education hoardings, information guides and maps has taken place to inform visitors and locals alike about the deer and how to view them without disturbing or upsetting them
- an education campaign has taken place amongst local villages and schools so they understand the initiatives to protect the deer and its habitat


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We are hugely grateful for the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, without whose support we could never have realised such an ambitious project.
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage