Why In News?
- India adds 11 more wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites to make total 75 Ramsar sites covering an area of 13,26,677 ha in the country in the 75th year of Independence.
- The 11 new sites include: Four (4) sites in Tamil Nadu, Three (3) in Odisha, Two (2) in Jammu & Kashmir and One (1) each in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Designation of these sites would help in conservation and management of wetlands and wise use of their resources.
India and Ramsar Convention
- India is one of the Contracting Parties to Ramsar Convention, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971.
- India signed it on 1st Feb 1982.
- During 1982 to 2013, a total of 26 sites were added to the list of Ramsar sites, however, during 2014 to 2022, the country has added 49 new wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites.
- During this year itself (2022) a total of 28 sites have been declared as Ramsar sites.
- Based on the date of designation mentioned on Ramsar Certificate, the number is 19 for this year (2022) and 14 for previous year (2021).
- Tamil Nadu has maximum no. of Ramsar sites (14 nos), followed by UP which has 10 nos. of Ramsar sites.
Know About 11 New Ramsar Sites
1. Tampara Lake
- Tampara Lake is among the most prominent freshwater lakes in the State of Odisha situated in Ganjam district. The depression on the ground gradually filled with rainwater from catchment flow and was called “Tamp” by the British and subsequently termed “Tampra” by the locals.
- The wetland supports at least 60 species of birds, 46 species of fishes, at least 48 species of phytoplanktons, and more than seven species of terrestrial plants and macrophytes.
- The wetland is an important habitat for vulnerable species such as Cyprinus carpio, common pochard (Aythya ferina), and river tern (Sterna aurantia).
2. Hirakud Reservoir
- Hirakud Reservoir, the largest earthen dam in Odisha started operating in 1957.
- Out of the known 54 species of fish from the reservoir, one has been classed as being endangered, six near threatened and 21 fish species of economic importance.
- Similarly, over 130 bird species have been recorded at this site, out of which 20 species are of high conservation significance.
Hirakud Reservoir Migratory Birds
3. Ansupa Lake
- Ansupa Lake is the largest freshwater lake of Odisha situated in Banki sub-division of Cuttack district and has its fame from time immemorial for its scenic beauty, biodiversity, and natural resources.
- The wetland is an oxbow lake formed by River Mahanadi and is spread over an area of 231 ha.
- The wetland is home to at least 194 species of birds, 61 species of fishes and 26 species of mammals in addition to 244 species of macrophytes.
- The wetland provides a safe habitat to at least three threatened bird species- Rynchops albicollis (EN), Sterna acuticauda (EN) and Sterna aurantia (VU) and three threatened fish species- Clarias magur (Clariidae) (EN), Cyprinus carpio (Cyprinidae) (VU) and Wallago attu (VU).
4. Yashwant Sagar
- Yashwant Sagar is one of the two Important Bird Areas (IBA) in the Indore region as well as one of the most important birding sites in Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh.
- Presently it is mainly used for water supply to the city of Indore and is also being used for fish culture on a commercial scale.
- Yashwant Sagar is considered to be a stronghold of the vulnerable Sarus Crane in central India.
- The lake backwaters have plenty of shallow areas, conducive for waders and other waterfowl.
- Due to its vast shallow reed beds, the wetland is considered heaven to a large number of winter migratory birds.
Heronry birds, Yashwant Sagar
5. Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary
- Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary, locally known as “Chitrangudi Kanmoli” is located in Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu.
- The wetland is a protected area since 1989 and declared as Bird Sanctuary.
- Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary is an ideal habitat for winter migratory birds. Around 50 birds belonging to 30 families have been reported from the site. Out of these 47 are water birds and 3 terrestrial birds.
- Notable waterbirds spotted from the site area spot-billed pelican, little egret, grey heron, large egret, open billed stork, purple, and pond herons.
- Chitrangudi is surrounded by agricultural fields, where different crops are grown throughout the year.
6. Suchindram Theroor Wetland Complex
- Suchindrum Theroor Wetland complex is part of the Suchindrum-Theroor Manakudi Conservation Reserve.
- It is declared an Important Bird Area and lies at the southern tip of the Central Asian flyway of migratory birds. It was formed for birds’ nesting purposes and it attracts thousands of birds every year.
- Copper plate inscriptions from the 9th century mention Pasumkulam, Venchikulam, Nedumarthukulam, Perumkulam, Elemchikulam and Konadunkulam.
- Around 250 species of birds have been recorded in the area, of which 53 are migratory, 12 endemic, and 4 threatened.
7. Vaduvur Bird Sanctuary
- Vaduvur bird sanctuary spreads over an area of 112.638 ha, is a large human-made irrigation tank and shelter for migratory birds as it provides a suitable environment for food, shelter, and breeding ground.
- While these irrigation tanks have socio-economic and cultural significance, very little is known of their ecological importance.
- Large concentrations of wintering waterfowl such as Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope, Northern Pintail Anas acuta, Garganey Anas querquedula were recorded in tanks.
Black headed Ibis nest
8. Kanjirankulam Bird Sanctuary
- Kanjirankulam Bird Sanctuary is a Protected area near Mudukulathur Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu. India, declared in 1989.
- It is notable as a nesting site for several migratory heron species that roost in the prominent growth of babul trees there.
- The breeding population of migratory waterbirds arrive here between October and February and include: painted stork, white ibis, black ibis, little egret, great egret.
- The site qualifies as an IBA as the threatened Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis breeds here.
- The wetland exhibits rich biodiversity including many globally near-threatened species like Spot-billed Pelican, Oriental Darter, Oriental white Ibis and Painted Stork and also commonly occurring shore and water birds like greenshank, plovers, stilts and forest birds like bee-eaters, bulbuls, cuckoos, starlings, barbets, etc. They act as breeding, nesting, roosting, foraging, and stopover sites for the birds.
- The wetland supports IUCN RedList vulnerable avian species like Sterna aurantia (River Tern).
Black winged stilt Black Ibis
Spot-billed pelican nesting site Kanjirankulam Bird Sanctuary
9. Thane Creek
- Thane Creek is located in Maharashtra, India.
- There are several sources of fresh water to the creek, of which Ulhas River is the largest, followed by many drainage channels from various suburban areas of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai & Thane.
- It has been declared as Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary.
- Thane creek is fringed by mangroves on both banks & comprises around 20% of the total Indian mangrove species.
- The mangrove forest acts as a natural shelter belt & protects the land from cyclones, tidal surges, seawater seepage & intrusions. The mangrove serves as a nursery for several fishes & sustains the local fishery.
- The area is an important part of the wetland complex of the Central Asian Flyway of the birds and has been categorized as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
- Other than 202 avifaunal species, the creek also houses 18 species of fishes, crustaceans & molluscs, 59 species of butterflies, 67 species of Insects, and 35 species of phytoplankton, and 24 species of zooplankton & 23 species of Benthos.
congregation of Lesser flamingos
Mangroves of Thane creek
10. Hygam Wetland Conservation Reserve
- Hygam Wetland falls within the River Jhelum basin and plays a significant role as a flood absorption basin, biodiversity conservation site, eco-tourism site, and livelihood security for the local communities.
- The wetland is located in the Baramulla district. It serves as an abode to many residents and migratory bird species.
- It is also recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
Photograph of the flood basin Migratory Waterfowl congregation at Hygam wetlan
11. Shallbugh Wetland Conservation Reserve
- Shallabug Wetland Conservation Reserve is located in the District Srinagar, UT of J&K.
- Large areas of the wetland dry up between September and March.
- The area has extensive reedbeds of Phragmites communis and Typha angustata, and rich growth of Nymphaea candida and N. stellata on open water.
- It serves as an abode to more than four lakh resident and migratory birds of at least 21 species.
- Shallabugh Wetland plays a major role in the natural control, amelioration or prevention of flooding.
- It is also important for seasonal water retention for wetlands or other areas of conservation importance downstream.