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Ramsar adds four more Indian wetlands to list of global importance

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. (Vadodra Municipal Corporation)Premium
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. (Vadodra Municipal Corporation)

The Ramsar Convention has designated Thol and Wadhwana from Gujarat, and Sultanpur and Bhindawas from Haryana as wetlands of global importance. These wetlands are home to endangered bird species like Egyptian Vulture, Saker Falcon, Sociable Lapwing, and the near threatened Dalmatian Pelican.

NEW DELHI: Four more wetlands from India, home to over a dozen “threatened and near threatened" bird species, have been recognised as wetlands of global importance under the Ramsar Convention.

These sites are Thol and Wadhwana from Gujarat, and Sultanpur and Bhindawas from Haryana. These are home to the endangered Egyptian Vulture, Saker Falcon, Sociable Lapwing, and the near threatened Dalmatian Pelican.

With this, the number of Ramsar sites in India are 46 and the surface area covered by these sites is now 1,083,322 hectares, the Union environment ministry said on Saturday.

The aim of the Ramsar list is “to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits".

Wetlands play a vital role in conserving biodiversity, they purify and replenish ground water. They also serve as a natural sponge against flooding and drought, protect our coastlines and help fight climate change. In urban India, they work as critical carbon sinks and play a role in preventing urban flooding as well.

Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest wetland in Haryana is a human-made freshwater wetland. Over 250 bird species use the sanctuary throughout the year as a resting and roosting site. The site supports more than ten globally threatened species including the endangered Egyptian Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, and Black-bellied Tern.

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. More than ten of these are globally threatened, including the critically endangered Sociable Lapwing, and the endangered Egyptian Vulture, Saker Falcon, Pallas’s Fish Eagle and Black-bellied Tern.

Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat lies on the Central Asian Flyway and more than 320 bird species can be found here. The wetland supports more 30 threatened waterbird species, such as the critically endangered white-rumped vulture and Sociable Lapwing, and the vulnerable Sarus Crane, Common Pochard and Lesser White-fronted Goose.

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. They include some threatened or near-threatened species such as the endangered Pallas’s fish-Eagle, the vulnerable Common Pochard, and the near-threatened Dalmatian Pelican, Grey-headed Fish-eagle and Ferruginous Duck.

The ministry of environment, forest and climate change said wetlands provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation. They are, in fact, a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater. The ministry said it would be working closely with the State Wetland Authorities to ensure the wise use of these sites.

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