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The Keibul Lamjao National Park
Spread in an area of 40 sq km, Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur was established in the year 1966 as a Sanctuary and in the year 1977 as a National Park. Keibul Lamjao National Park Manipur is probably the world's only 'floating sanctuary' that comprises 40 sq km of wetland overgrown with 1.5 m. deep floating vegetation (called phumdi). The park has several distinguishing features. Besides the vegetation and terrain, an important highlight of the park is the Loktak Lake (6,475 ha), the largest freshwater lake in India; a large portion of which falls within the park.

Ecosystem of the Keibul Lamjao National Park
The Flora : Keibul Lamjao consists of the unique 'phumdi' or floating marshes. EightLadies  Slipper  Orchid y per cent of the flora is submerged and the vegetation forms a 90-120 cm. thick cover on the water surface. About half a century ago, the predominant plants used to be tou (45 per cent), singut (25 per cent) and khoimom (15 per cent). But the composition of the vegetation has undergone rapid changes and the plant cover, at present, is estimated to comprise of equal proportions of hoop Leersia hexandra and sing kambong Zizania latifolia, a protein-rich plant, often used as food (about 24 per cent).

The Animals
Some very rare animals may be seen in and around this wilderness. The star attraction, of course, is the brow-antlered deer Cervus eldi eldi, called sangai in the local Meitei dialect. This particular subspecies of the Thamin deer is also fondly called Manipur's dancing deer because of its delicate gait as it negotiates its way along the floating wetlands. Other species of deer seen here include the hog deer, sambar and muntjac. One of the most primitive primates, the slow loris occurs in scattered pockets on the hills. Assamese and stump-tailed macaques and the Hoolock gibbon are restricted mainly to the western hills. The Rhesus monkey is found ubiquitously around the park. The large Indian civet Viverra zibetha and small Indian civet Viverricula indica, common otter Lutra lutra and wild boar Sus scrofa are some of the large mammals found in the area.

Extremely rare lesser wild cats like the marbled cat and Temminck's golden cat may be sighted occasionally. The Himalayan black bear and the Malayan bear may also be seen foraging for food.

The Birds
A variety of raSangai  (Deer)re birds occur in Keibul Lamjao and the Loktak Lake. The avifauna consists primarily of the smaller reed-dwelling species. Waterfowl, which were unfailing winter migrants to the lake, are becoming more rare because of the lack of open water surfaces. The Hooded Crane may be seen in the Manipur valley. The Black Eagle and the Shaheen Falcon are some of the raptors seen here. The Eastern White Stork, Bamboo Partridge and Green Peafowl are also found here.

Some of the species of hornbills found here include the Brownbacked Hornbill, Rufousnecked Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, the Pied Hornbill and the Great Pied Hornbill.

Manipur Zoological Garden
About 6 km. from Imphal, towards the west, in Manipur Zoological Garden at Iroishemba lying on the Imphal Kangchup Road. You will find some rare to be found species in this zoological garden. A trip to the Manipur Zoological Garden, at the foot of the pine-growing hillocks in the westernmost corner of Lamphelpat is really enjoyable.

You will have an opportunity to see the graceful brow antlered deer (Sangai), one of the rarest species in the world, in sylvan surroundings of the Garden.


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