This deer is not a common deer. It is a Sangai deer. It is an endemic sub species of brow-antlered deer found only in marshy wetland of Keibul Lamjao south of Loktak lake of Manipur. Its scientific name is “Rucervus eldii eldii McClelland”? Sangai is state animal of Manipur. More interesting is the fact that it lives on the floating islands called “phumdi” in Loktak Lake. Why it is also called dancing deer? Phumdi is floating mass of entangled vegetation formed by the sedimentation accumulation of organic biomass material with the soil particles. Over the years the vegetation keeps on growing and decaying. Roots gets entangled together and capture the decayed organic material of vegetation and soil. The humus thus formed varies in thickness from few centimetres to upto two metres. This mass floats over water with large part inside the water. Much like we read in our books about the floating gardens in the Dal Lake of Srinagar, Kashmir.
What happens in these floating islands is that when there is enough rain that means enough water in lake, thus these mass called Phumdi float on water. But in lean period of less rain these islands rest on lake bed. They take nutrients from the lake bed and grow. When again rain comes these islands float and the nutrients captured between the mess of roots sustain it for rainy season. Several type of vegetation grows on these Phumdi- floating islands. Sangai deer eats these vegetation and this vegetation provides shelter also to these sangai deer. But now days due to various urbanisation projects like hydro power projects etc. the lake water never comes down. Encroachment around the lake, over activity by fishermen, loss of some vegetation affects livelihood of fishermen and also pose danger to Sangai deer. The period when these phumdi used to eat or get their nutrients from lake bed has come down, as the water level in lake not comes down. Thus as a result these floating islands are getting eroded, becoming thinner, water is cutting these into small pieces, as soil getting dissolved, eroded by excess water. These habitats of Snagai deer are getting destroyed. However, since it is a National Park, poaching activities have come down but danger it there for its habitat.