Ramsar list enriched with four more Indian sites as wetlands of international importance


Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav has informed that Sultanpur and Bhindawas in Haryana and Thol and Wadhwana in Gujarat are four more wetlands included in Ramsar sites. With this, India now have 46 Ramsar sites with the covered surface area of 1,083,322 hectares. Haryana has got its first Ramsar sites while Gujarat has got three more after Nalsarovar that was declared in the year 2012. The Ramsar list aims at developing and maintaining an international network of wetlands for the conservation of biological diversity globally, besides sustaining human life through maintenance of their ecosystem components, benefits and processes.
Wetlands are a major source of water and they provide a wide range of significant resources and ecosystem services which include water, food, fibre, water purification, groundwater recharge, erosion control, flood moderation and climate regulation. Our main supply of fresh water comes from an array of wetlands which recharge groundwater by soaking rainfall. Similarly more than 220 local migratory, species of resident and winter migratory waterbirds are supported by the Sulanpur National Park in Haryana.
Among these more than ten species are are globally threatened and these include Egyptian Vulture, Pallas’s Fish Eage, Black-bellied Tern and Saker Falcon. Situated on Central Asian Flyway in Gujarat, the Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary supports more than 320 bird species. This wetland supports thirty threatened waterbird species. These include vulnerable Sarus Crante, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Common Pochard and Sociable Lapwing.
Apart from all these, Wadhvana Wetland in Gujarat provides wintering ground to migratory waterbirds which include about 80 species migrating on Central Asian Flyway. Some of the threatened or near threatened species that migrate to this Wetland include Ferruginous Duck, Dalmatian Pelican and Grey-headed Fish eagle. Meanwhile, the ministry of environment, forest and climate change would be working with the state wetland authorities to ensure that these sites are used wisely and efficiently.
Ramsar sites have earned significance in terms of conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, their resources signed and developed by participating nations at a convention held in 1971 at Ramsar, an Iranian city located on Caspian Sea.

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