Common Name: Sangai, Brow Antlered Deer, Dancing Deer
Scientific Name: Rucervus eldii
About: It is the state animal of Manipur. Sangai is a medium-sized deer, with uniquely distinctive antlers, with extremely long brow tine, which form the main beam. The forward protruding beam appears to come out from the eyebrow. This signifies its name, brow-antlered deer. The animal’s coat is dark reddish brown during winter months and it bears a much lighter shade in summer. The height is about 115-130cm (Males), 90-100cm (females) and weighs about 90-125kg (Male), 60-80 kg (Female). It is native to Cambodia, China, India, Laos and Myanmar.
Habitat: Its habitat is restricted to the marshy wetland of Keibal Lamjao over the floating biomass in Loktak Lake which is locally called ‘phumdi’. The habitat of the sangai is now protected as the ‘Keibul Lamjao National Park’. Keibal Lamjao is the only floating National Park in India. Sangai often balances itself while walking on the floating biomass which looks as if it is dancing on the green grassland and hence the name of ‘dancing deer’ of Manipur has come into existence.
Status: State animal of Manipur, Schedule-1 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Endangered on IUCN Red List.
Sangai festival: It is an annual cultural festival organised by Manipur Tourism Department every year from 21st to 30th November. Many editions of this Festival have been celebrated over the past few years with the name of ‘Tourism Festival’, however since 2010 this has been renamed as the Sangai Festival to emphasize the uniqueness of this shy and gentle brow-antlered deer.
Angelo Jaya Sheeli Domathoti
Manager (Environment), Corporate Office, Faridabad