In a bid to save and help the brow-antlered deer, aka dancing deer, multiply, there is a demand for a second home. There is plan to make Phumlenpat Lake in Manipur’s Thoubal district as the second home for this deer. But villagers surrounding Phumlenpat Lake, have been launching sit-in protests and taking out torch light processions almost every night, saying that they should not be deprived of their livelihood by opening a second home for this deer at the lake.
According to a joint census conducted by the Forest Department and wildlife enthusiasts in March 2016, it was near extinction in 1951 ans now is just 260.
Foreign and domestic tourists come to Keibul Lamjao, Manipur’s Bishnupur district to see, among others, this deer and pony which are not found anywhere in the world.
The State government enforced the Manipur Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, and later declared Keibul Lamjao as the National Park.
Manipur government may drop the project. Actually in Manipur, no government can do anything against the wishes of the womenfolk. While seemingly unconnected, it is illustrative of the women power in the State.
Women of villages surrounding the Phumlenpat say that for generations they have been depending on fish, other water living beings and edible water plants in this lake and they will starve if they are not allowed to enter the lake once the sanctuary is opened.
According to some villagers, the Phumlenpat in Thoubal district is quite different from the Loktak Lake in Bishnupur district. There is no plant or grass or floating bio mass in the Phumlenpat Lake which means the deer will starve to death. At the same time, the villagers who will be denied entry in the lake will starve. Both deer and people will die and this government plan should be dropped. (News source: The Hindu)