People s protest

irate locals demonstrated at the Keibul Lamjao national park in Manipur on January 8, blocking the entry of government vehicles and tourists. The park is a natural habitat of the brown-antlered deer. Apparently, the locals were piqued because of the alleged failure of the state government in checking rampant poaching that poses a serious threat to the biodiversity of Keibul Lamjao.

Among other things, the people have demanded adequate deployment of wildlife staff and the employment of a higher official to oversee the administration. The locals said they were worried that the brown-antlered deer, locally known as sangai and numbering just around 175, may soon be extinct.

Despite the deployment of Manipur Rifles personnel and imposition of government strictures, time and again the poachers got away with killing the rare deer for venison and also turned their wrath upon migratory birds flocking the Loktak lake in the park. The protestors complained that some political upstarts even tried to mobilise opinion that the park be converted into paddy fields.

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