Located in the southwestern part of the Loktak Lake, the Keibul Lamjao National Park is the last natural habitat of the brow-antlered deer (Sangai) the dancing deer of Manipur. Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating park in the world.
A glimpse of the deer in this unique wetland ecosystem is a must for any wildlife enthusiast. Other wildlife to be seen include: Hog Deer, Otter, a host of water fowls and migratory birds, the latter usually sighted from November to March. The Forest Department of Manipur maintains watchtowers and two rest houses within the park. Shooting game is prohibited there.
History of Keibul National Park:
Sangai was once reported extinct in 1951 and was re-discovered and counted six heads in 1953 by Eldi Percy Gee, the then honorary secretary, Indian board for Wildlife, Eastern region in a survey conducted under the auspices of the IUCN. It was the first turning point for Sangai Conservation. Following this event, the Manipur Wildlife Advisory Board declared Keibul area as a protected sanctuary and Sangai as a protected animal in it’s meeting held on 10th December, 1954.
Further conservation measures were taken up and Keibul Lamjao area was declared as a protection forest dated 25th November, 1965. Again Keibul Lamjao area was declared as reserved forest dated 20th November, 1974 under the Indian Forest Act,1927.
The second turning point for the Sangai conservation was the initiative of the Government of India in 1975. A team led by Dr. MK Ranjit Singh, the then Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India was instructed to go to Manipur and assess the population of Sangai. The team counted 14 heads of Sangai in 1975.
Finally, Keibul Lamjao covering an area of 40 sq.km was declared as a full-fledged National Park called Keibul Lamjao National Park by the State Government of Manipur for dated 28th March,1977 for protection of it’s flagship species Sangai and other associated wildlife namely Hog deer, Wild boar etc under the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
This park support about 260 Sangai deer ( Rucervus eldii eldii) and almost an equal number of Hog deer (Axis porcinus) as per the 2016 census conducted by the Forest Department, Manipur. The other biodiversity found in the park are 22 species of mammals such as Wild Pig (Sus scrofa), Common Otter (Luthra Luthra), Indian Civet Cat (Viverriculata indica) and 25 species of reptiles such as Fresh water Turtles, Viper, Krait, Cobra, Python etc. The park harbours important migratory birds such as Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri), Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata), Bar headed goose (Anser indicus), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferrguinea), Shoveller (Anas strepera), Gadwall (Astrepera streperal), Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), Pochard (Aythya ferina), Baikal Teal (Anas Formosa), Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger) etc. The total avian fauna both resident and migratory found in the Park is more than 150 species. There are many indigenous fish species such as Anabus testudineus, Channa striatus, Monoterus album etc.
The flora consists of 145 identified plants.
The important plant species are
– Zizania Latifolia
– Saccharum munja
– S. Bengalenis
– Phragmitis karka
– Cynodon dactylon
– Hedychium coronarium
– Alipinia galanga
– Arundo donax
– Erianthus arundinaceus
– Erianthus procerus
–>For a similar experience, >>Click here