Manipur is one of the oldest States in the Indian history that finds its name mentioned even in Mahabharata. This beautiful state is known for its culture and traditions but one thing that it is world famous for is its lake. This is not a usual lake but a lake that has floating islands. One of these floating islands was declared as the national park in the year 1977 and since then this is the lake that has world’s only floating national park.
Keibul Lam Jao – The Only Floating National Park in the World
Keibul Lam Jao National Park as it is called is the only National Park in the world that floats on a lake. This Park is located more towards Moirang in Manipur and is the natural habitat of the most unusual animal in the world known as Sangai. This animal is only found in Manipur and comes under the category of endangered species. The Loktak Lake means the end of the stream.
This lake is of great importance because it nurtures in itself a unique kind of ecosystem which thrives on the phumdis. Phumdis is a collection of unique variety of vegetation along with soil and other organic matter that is undergoing decomposition. The phumdis grows in a cyclical pattern. In the monsoons the phumdis is a float while in the summers when water dries up phumdis comes in contact with the soil and gains food for its thriving when water level is high.
Lokltak Lake is very important as far as Manipur is considered. It helps the state in various ways such as
- Economy : The economy of Manipur and its people is largely dependent on this lake. Loktak Lake provides the area with water for many purposes such as
- Hydropower generation
- Supply of drinking water
The people are largely dependent on the lake for their livelihood and carry out activities such as fishing.
- Local ecosystem : The phumdis are a great way of providing for the local animals and birds and moreover the entire National Park is actually located on a big chunk of phumdis. The vegetation of phumdis is the main source of food for the Sangai too.
There are many challenges thata re being faced by this lake and the phumdis that make this lake so famous. The hydro electric power generation system needs a lot of water and therefore the lake needs to be full of water throughout the year. This has actually caused the problem for phumdis. Now it hardly gets any time to meet the soil underneath to gain nutrition and that is why it is slowly becoming thinner and fragile. Also the fishermen stealthily cut away portions of phumdis to sell to the fisheries nearby adding to the problems of phumdis.
The decrease in the area of phumdis has caused a great concern for Sangai that is solely dependent on the vegetation of phumdis. To add to the problems the poachers are always ready to slit the throat of the already endangered Sangai.
Excessive human population as well as intervention is slowly killing the natural ecosystem of the region which is one of the most unusual places on earth. Governments and most importantly the people must realize the importance of this lake and conserve it for future generations.
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