Blessed with rich flora and fauna, the wildlife sanctuaries of Manipur are among the leading natural parks in India. Nestled in the north eastern mountain ranges of the country, the state of Manipur is bestowed with lush green vegetations, deep forests and rich animal resources. The government of Manipur and other wildlife organizations have come together to preserve the wildlife by creating a number of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.
Keibul Lamjao National Park
It is the only floating National park in the whole world and is 53 km. from Imphal. This is the last natural habitat of the marsh-dwelling brow-antlered deer of Manipur called "Sangai". Many waterfowl and migratory birds visit the Lake during November and March. The National Park is on an island inside the lake. The lake has colorful water plants and provides facilities for boating and fishing. Eld’s deer, Thamin deer, Brow-antlered deer, Sangai and Dancing deer are the names for a single species of deer found only in Manipur. A highly endangered species, the brow-antlered deer is found exclusively in a small area, which stretches across the extreme northeastern corner of India, Myanmar and part of Thailand. In India this beautiful creature is found at the Keibul Lamjao National Park. Keibul Lamjao’s other claim to fame is the fact that this is one of the very few floating protected areas in the world. Keibul Lamjao officially became a national park in 1977and today stretches over an area of about 40 sq km surrounded by marshes, hillocks, and the lake itself. A number of streams too crisscross this which combined with extensive marshes make the park a typical wetland. The most prominent spotted `sangai' deer had been reported extinct in 1951, but after being re-discovered has finally become Keibul Lamjao's prime attraction. Other animals in the park include otter, civet, wild boar and hog deer, besides a number of small reed-dwelling birds. The flora in Keibul Lamjao consists of the unique 'phumdi' or floating marshes. Eighty 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, singut and khoimom. 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. Some very rare animals may be seen in and around this wilderness. 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.
Manipur Zoological Garden
It is located at a distance of about six km from Imphal in Manipur. Some of the rare species are found here. A trip to the Manipur Zoological Garden at the foot of the pine-growing hillocks in the westernmost corner of Lamphelpat is really enjoyable. Also the graceful brow antlered deer, one of the rarest species in the world can be seen in the sylvan surroundings of the garden.