Four New Ramsar Sites: India’s Wetlands:
Four more Indian sites – two each from Haryana and Gujarat – have been recognised as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
- Further, according to recent estimates by Wetlands International South Asia, nearly 30% of the natural wetlands in India have been lost in the last three decades. Majorly, the loss of Wetlands is more prominent in Urban areas.
- Wetlands International South Asia was established in 1996, with an office in New Delhi, as a part of Wetlands International network to promote conservation and sustainable development of wetlands in the South Asia region.
- Wetlands are ecosystems saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently.
- They include mangroves, marshes, rivers, lakes, deltas, floodplains and flooded forests, rice-fields, coral reefs, marine areas no deeper than 6 metres at low tide, as well as human-made wetlands such as waste-water treatment ponds and reservoirs.
- Though they cover only around 6% of the Earth’s land surface, 40% of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands.
New Ramsar Sites:
- Recently, the Ramsar Convention has designated four new wetlands in India, as wetlands of global importance. It is an international treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
- Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest wetland in Haryana is a human-made freshwater wetland.
- Sultanpur National Park from Haryana supports more than 220 species of resident, winter migratory and local migratory waterbirds at critical stages of their life cycles.
- Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat lies on the Central Asian Flyway and more than 320 bird species can be found here.
- Wadhwana Wetland from Gujarat is internationally important for its birdlife as it provides wintering ground to migratory waterbirds, including over 80 species that migrate on the Central Asian Flyway.
- These wetlands are home to endangered bird species like Egyptian Vulture, Saker Falcon, Sociable Lapwing, and the near threatened Dalmatian Pelican.
- With this, the number of Ramsar sites in India are 46.