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THE CONSERVATION OF MANIPURI PONIES



  May 18, 2024

THE CONSERVATION OF MANIPURI PONIES


What is the Manipuri pony?

The Manipuri pony is a recognized equine breed, indigenous to the Indian state of Manipur. It is known for its significant role in the origin of the modern game of polo, called Sagol Kangjei locally. The breed is admired for its intelligence, stamina, and surefootedness.

Why is the Manipuri pony important?

Beyond its sporting significance, the Manipuri pony is deeply embedded in the cultural and ritual life of Manipur. It is considered a symbol of tradition and plays a vital role in local festivals like Lai Haraoba. Historically, it is revered as a reincarnation of the mythological flying horse, Samadon Ayangba.

What threats do Manipuri ponies face?

The main threats include loss of natural habitat due to infrastructure development, road accidents, and plastic consumption. Encroachment on grazing lands and wetlands has reduced their natural living spaces, pushing them towards hazardous areas.

What has been done to conserve the Manipuri pony?

In 2016, the Manipur state government enacted the Manipur Pony Conservation and Development Policy. However, implementation has been inefficient, with minimal active conservation efforts observed on the ground. Initiatives such as designating specific grazing areas have been limited and largely inadequate in scale.

What are the criticisms of the current conservation efforts?

Critics argue that the focus has been more on infrastructural development rather than on preserving the natural habitats vital for the ponies’ survival. Conservation policies remain largely unimplemented, and previous projects like pony farms have not succeeded.

What is the current population status of the Manipuri pony?

According to the 2019 Livestock Census, there are 994 Manipuri ponies in India, with 918 located in Manipur. This shows a significant decline from earlier counts, reflecting the urgency of effective conservation measures.

What can be done to improve the conservation of Manipuri ponies?

Improving conservation efforts could involve a stronger commitment to implementing existing policies, protecting and restoring wetlands and grazing areas, and engaging local communities in conservation efforts. Additionally, addressing infrastructure projects that threaten their habitats is crucial.

How can the public help in conserving Manipuri ponies?

Public support can be pivotal in conservation efforts through advocacy, supporting local NGOs focused on conservation, and spreading awareness about the ecological and cultural importance of the Manipuri pony.

These FAQs aim to provide a foundational understanding of the challenges and conservation needs of the Manipuri pony, emphasizing the critical need for focused and effective conservation strategies.



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