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Location India, Manipur
Central coordinates 93o 50.00' East  24o 35.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 20,000 ha
Altitude 767 - 813m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description Loktak Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in Northeast India and plays an important role in the ecological and economic security of the region. This oval lake with a maximum length of 26 km and width of 13 km has an average depth of 2.7 m. There are 14 hills varying in size and elevation, appearing as islands, in the southern part of the lake. Prominent among them are Sendra, Ithing and Thanga islands. The site also includes Phumlen, Kharung and Ikop wetlands. The Loktak Lake basin has a direct catchment area of 98,000 ha and an indirect catchment of 715,700 ha. Of the direct catchment area 43,000 ha is under paddy cultivation, 15,000 ha under human habitation, and 40,000 ha under forests. The Loktak and other lakes in Manipur valley dominate its economy to a great extent. About three-fourth of the total population of the State lives around these lakes (Choudhury 2002). The Keibul-Lamjao National Park (4,000 ha) is home to the highly endangered Manipur Brow-antlered Deer Cervus eldi eldi, one of the three subspecies of Thamin Deer Cervus eldi. The other two subspecies are found in Myanmar and Indo-China. Keibul-Lamjao NP was created to protect this deer, locally known as Sangai. It was reported to be extinct in 1951, but a survey conducted by IUCN revealed that a few animals existed in the Park. Sangai are specially adapted to this floating habitat, with their characteristic hooves, which unlike other deer species, help the animal to walk conveniently over the floating islands. The lake is designated as a wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990. Keibul-Lamjao National Park, which forms the southern portion of Loktak Lake, is a large continuous mass of swamp with floating mats of vegetation, locally known as phumdis, covering much of its surface. Phumdis are composed of decaying vegetation, up to 1.6 m thick and 80% submerged, and can support the weight of large mammals. The vegetation comprises of Zizania latifolia, Leersia hexandra, Phragmites karka, Cepithipedium spp., Carex spp., Saccharum munja, Coix lachryma-jobi, Narenga porphyrochroma, and Polygonum perfoliatum. Within Indian limits, Zizania latifolia is found only in Loktak Lake (Choudhury 2002). There are small hillocks within Keibul-Lamjao, namely Chingjao, Pabotching and Toyaching, which provide a refuge for large mammals during wetter periods (Yadava and Varshney 1981, Scott 1989).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Keibul-Lamjao National Park 4,000 protected area contained by site 4,000  
Loktak Lake Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 26,600 unknown 0  

Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.

Name Year formed
Loktak SSG 0


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   -
Artificial - terrestrial   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Fisheries
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism /recreation
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Human habitation; Transport
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributors: R. K. Ranjan Singh, C. L. Trisal and H. Tombi Singh.


Choudhury, A. U. (1992) Wildlife in Manipur – A preliminary Survey. Tiger Paper 19(1): 20-28.

Choudhury, A. U. (2002) Major Inland Wetlands of Northeastern India. Report Submitted to Sâlim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore. Pp. 45.

Higgins, J. C. (1934) The game birds and animals of the Manipur State with notes on their numbers, migration and habitats. Part IV. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 37: 81-95.

Hume, A. O. (1888) The birds of Manipur, Assam, Sylhet and Cachar. Stray Feathers II (1- 4): 1-353.

Tombi Singh, H. and Singh, R. K. S. (1994) Ramsar Sites of India: Loktak Lake. World Wide Fund for Nature, New Delhi. Pp. 69.

Scott, D. A. (Ed.) (1989) A directory of Asian Wetlands. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. 1, 181 pp.

Yadava, P. S. and Varshney, C. K. (1981) Notes on the ecology and socioeconomic importance of wetlands of Manipur, N. E. India. Internat. J. Ecol. Env. Sc. 7: 149-150.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Loktak Lake and Keibul Lamjao National Park. Downloaded from on 02/10/2014

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