Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Danger for the "Dancing Deer"

In 1951, scientists gave up the Manipur brow-antlered deer or sangai (Cervus eldi eldi) as extinct. Fortunately, they were wrong. A small herd of the animals hung on in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur in one of the world's most unusual habitats. Some 100 deer live on a huge floating island of silt and vegetation in Loktak lake. They have developed an unusual, bobbing gait due to the spongy and insubstantial nature of the surface they walk on. The "dancing deer," as they are often called, are in trouble again, though. Changes in the lake's water level due to a hydropower station have led to the slow disintegration of the world's most unusual game preserve. The sangai can survive on dry land, and probably will. But an amazing story of survival will nonetheless come to an end.
Thanks to Kris Winkler for this item.

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