Rising temperature a threat to Sangai

Loktak Lake area is a home to a wide range of ...

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Imphal,October 10: The country’s only floating National park- Keibul Lamjao,the only habitat of the endangered brow antlered deer locally known as Sangai in Manipur,might be most vulnerable to extinction if the temperature continues to rise due to the climate change.

“The rise in temperature might increase decompose rate of the Phumdi materials of the park and it will help in reducing the thickness and subsequent dying of it”, predicts Dr NC Talukdar, Director of Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), Imphal. “It may subsequently affect the conservation activities.”

Phumdis are heterogeneous mass of soil, vegetation and organic matters in different grades of decay which plays significant role in the ecological processes of 286 sq km Loktak Lake, form the Keibul Lamjao which floats on the southern part of the lake, having an area of 40 sq km, was declared a national park in 1977.The park is home to about 180 Sangai deer as per 2003 census. There are also 11 more Sangai deer at its second home near Eroishemba zoo.

“There are also wetlands in Assam but such kind of phumdis having a thickness of more than 1.5 metres not available due to its warm climatic conditions”, the scientist told this reporter on the sideline of the recently concluded two day national workshop on ‘Impact of climate change on biodiversity management in north eastern India with particular reference to Manipur’ .

IBSD official also expressed the need to do more research on how to slow down the pace of climate change in the region by taking up certain mitigation as well as adaptation measures.

Ministry of Environment and Forest’s first ever comprehensive report on climate change impact report prepared by the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA), a network-based programme consists of over 120 institutions and over 250 scientists country wide, said minimum temperatures are likely to rise from 1 degree Celsius to 2.5 degree Celsius and maximum temperatures may rise by 1 degree Celsius to 3.5 degree Celsius in North Eastern states by 2030.

Sharing a similar sentiment besides citing a comprehensive study based on Indian Meteorology Department’s 100 years weather records, Dr Nitasha Sharma of Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, also admitted that the region will be warmer by 2 degree Celsius by 2021-2050. “Bishnupur district where major portion of Loktak Lake and Keibul Lamjao are located in Manipur, will also be more vulnerable to agriculture”, she claimed in delivering her presentation on impact of climate change in NE India and vulnerability assessment for NE states.
Manipur’s University’s life science teacher Dr P Kumar Singh in another forum had claimed that the food source of Sangai deer is being slowly destroyed by Para grass (brachiaria mutica)or buffalo grass an exotic plant from Africa which was initially grown as fodder in the sixties, was found to be a pest weed that pushed out the native flora of an area unless it was grazed on by cattle.

Such continuous human pressure and subsequent alarming climate change prediction might attract the idea of trans location of the endangered deer in future in the line of Asiatic lion translocation from Gujarat’s Gir wildlife sanctuary to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno wildlife sanctuary. However the forest officials are not ready to comment on it.

Source: Hueiyen Lanpao

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