IMPHAL, Nov 23 - In a move to save Manipur�s rare pony species, the State Government has formulated a Manipur pony policy besides establishing an exclusive sanctuary for Manipur pony.
Announcing this, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Tuesday said the step has been taken �as the population of the original polo pony has decreased alarmingly� and to save �this rare species and enhance its number.�
Ibobi was addressing the inaugural function of the 10th Manipur Polo International 2016 organised by Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association (MHRPA) here at Mapal Kangjeibung, the oldest polo ground in the world located in the heart of Imphal city.
Stating that Manipur pony is one of the five species of ponies recognised by the Government of India, he said that this Manipuri pony or Meitei Sagol is the most sacred of all animals in the State. �Further, Manipur Government is initiating steps to declare Manipuri pony as an endangered breed to be preserved for future generations in Manipur, India and the world,� he added.
Manipur Polo International is being organised every year as part of the annual tourism festival of the State which was renamed as Manipur Sangai Festival in 2010. This year, four foreign teams from Australia, England, Kenya and USA, besides India-A (representing Indian Polo Association) and India-B represented by players from Manipur are taking part in the Polo International.
These teams will be playing at the historic polo ground � Imphal polo ground. �We are indebted to our forefathers who have handed to us this game� the CM observed. Myanmar�s Chin State Chief Minister U Salai Luai, Chairman, Hill Areas Committee Dr Chaltonlien Amo and Education Minister Dr Kh Ratankumar attended the inaugural function.
It may be mentioned that the total number of Manipur Pony as per the Livestock Census 2003 was 1,898 while the Livestock Census 2012 had reported that the total population has declined to just 1,101. The oldest known Polo Club was the Cachar Club founded in Assam in 1859.