Pothashang News Service: Imphal, August 8, 2018: The population estimation of wildlife conducted under the initiative of the forest department at Keibul Lamjao National Park witnessed the population of the state animal, Sangai as stable.
During the population estimation in 2016, the population of Sangai was recorded at 260 and the population of Hog Deer (Kharsha) at the Keibul Lamjao National Park recorded at 288, which is an increase from 276 in 2016. The survey was conducted for three days (March 22, 24 and 26.
Loktak Waterbird Census 2018 conducted on 20th January this year at 50 selected sites, using Water Bird Total Count method, recorded total count of birds at 15,841 belonging to 46 different species. Last year the count was recorded at 17,333. This year witnessed a decline by 1,492 compared to the previous year.
Addressing the media persons at his New Secretariat office today, forest and environment minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar said there is a competition between two associated species Sangai and Hog Deer in the Keibul Lamjao National Park. Stating that Sangai population is stable while the Hog Deer population is increasing, he said there is a need for alternative dwelling places/habitat sites for both the animals with proper relocation plan.
He said that as per the requirement, the state government will expand the dwelling places/habitat sites for the animals for which public support is needed, particularly from those residing near the periphery of the dwelling areas. He appealed to the public to support state government in its initiatives for conservation of wildlife and environment.
Speaking on the decrease in the total count of birds at Loktak Lake, he said the usage of LED fishing methodology by fishermen is disturbing the natural habitats and decrease in food availability in Loktak Lake is also attributing to the decrease in numbers of birds.
The minister also announced that the first bird sanctuary of the state will be set up at Thinungei, Bishnupur as an initiative to increase the number of birds around the Loktak Lake. He said the government will declare Thinungei Bird Sanctuary per the aspirations of the villagers of Thinungei, Bishnupur. The sanctuary will have better protection and management including roosting sites, he added.
The population estimation of wildlife at Keibul Lamjao National Park was conducted using the ‘Point Transect’ technique also called Variable Circular Plots with 60 observers/volunteers participating in the estimation exercise.
The observers/volunteers from Wildlife Institute of India (Dehdradun), Manipur University, DM College of Science, Sangai Protection Forum, Keibul, YICCL, Unique Wildlife Protection Committee, People for Animals, Manipur Global Science Club, Toubul Youth Development Association, students and wildlife activists participated in the exercise.
During the Loktak Waterbird Census 2018, Lesser Whistling duck was recorded highest number followed by Common Coot. Wood Sandpiper, Bar-headed Goose, Chestnut Bittern and Ruddy Breasted Crake were sighted this year and these four species were not reported last year. Six species namely Darter, Jack Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Northern Shoveler, Ferruginous Pochard and Greylag Goose were not reported this year. 25 species have shown increase in number while 27 species shown decrease in number.
The press conference was attended by Kereilhouvi Angami, principal chief conservator of forests among other concerned officials.