RAMSAR- Wetland Sites in India

What is the RAMSAR Wetland Site?

Ramsar site is a wetland site designated for international importance by the Ramsar convention.

Ramsar Convention: Ramsar Convention (established in 1971 by UNESCO, came in force in 1975) is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands that recognizes the fundamental ecological functions and economic, cultural, recreational, and scientific values of these sites.

  • The name Ramsar was given after the name of the city Ramsar in Iran, the treaty signed there in 1971.
  • Every year 2nd February is celebrated as world wetland Day, which was celebrated for the first time in 1997.
  • There are currently over 2,400 Ramsar Sites around the world. They cover over 2.5 million square kilometers
  • The most number of sites in the United Kingdom i.e. 175 and Mexico is 142. 
  • The world’s first Ramsar Site was the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia, designated in 1974.
  • The largest Sites are Rio Negro in Brazil (120,000 square kilometers), and Ngiri-Tumba-Maindombe in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Queen Maud Gulf in Canada; these Sites each cover over 60,000 square km. Others are as small as one hectare.

It entered into force in India on 1 February 1982. India currently has 46 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 1,083,322 hectares.

What is Wetland?

Wetland is a distinct ecosystem flooded by water permanently or seasonally. These include flooded forests, floodplains, marshes, rivers and lakes, coral reefs, etc. The hydrophytes, hydric soil, and water-saturated land are the main characteristics of this land.

What is the importance of Wetlands?

Wetland plays an important role in the ecosystem, they improve natural water quality, protects from flood, controls shoreline erosion. It helps in recreation and aesthetic appreciation and natural products without any cost.

World’s first wetland site?

The world’s first site was the Coburg Peninsula in Australia, 1974. 

What are the latest updates about Indian Ramsar sites?

  • 50th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on 2nd February 2021, this day is also celebrated as World Wetland Day. India established the Centre for Wetland Conservation & Management under the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in Chennai at National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM).

RAMSAR- Wetland Sites in India

  • One of the Ramsar sites in India Sambhar lake is in news because of the deterioration of salt mining.
  • Uttar Pradesh has the most number of Ramsar sites, it has 8 Ramsar wetland sites.
  • Four new Wetland sites of India are added to the list.
Which is the first Ramsar site in India?

The Chilka Lake in Orissa and Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan are recognized as the first Ramsar site in India.

The smallest and largest wetland in India!

Sunderbans is the largest and Renuka wetland in Himachal Pradesh is the smallest Ramsar wetland in India.

    List of 46 Ramsar Wetland sites in India

    Sl.No.   Name of Site State Location Date of Declaration Area(in sq. km.)
    1 Asan Conservation Reserve Uttarakhand 21.7.2020 4.444
    2 Asthamudi Wetland Kerala 19.8.2002 614
    3 Beas Conservation Reserve Punjab 26.9.2019 64.289
    4 Bhitarkanika Mangroves Orissa 19.8.2002 650
    5 Bhoj Wetlands Madhya Pradesh 19.8.2002 32.01
    6 Chandertal Wetland Himachal Pradesh 8.11.2005 0.49
    7 Chilka Lake Orissa 1.10.1981 1165
    8 Deepor Beel Assam 19.8.2002 40
    9 East Kolkata Wetlands West Bengal 19.8.2002 125
    10 Harike Lake Punjab 23.3.1990 41
    11 Hokera Wetland Jammu and Kashmir 8.11.2005 13.75
    12 Kabartal Wetland Bihar

    In Begusarai district

    21.07.2020 26.20
    13 Kanjli Lake Punjab 22.1.2002 1.83
    14 Keoladeo Ghana NP Rajasthan 1.10.1981 28.73
    15 Keshopur-Miani Community Reserve Punjab 26.9.2019 3.439
    16 Kolleru Lake Andhra Pradesh 19.8.2002 901
    17 Loktak Lake Manipur 23.3.1990 266
    18 Lonar Lake Maharashtra 22.7.2020 4.27
    19 Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary Gujarat 24.09.2012 120
    20 Nandur Madhameshwar Maharashtra 21.6.2019 14.37
    21 Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary Punjab 26.9.2019 1.16
    22 Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary Uttar Pradesh

    Unnao district 

    19.9.2019 2.246
    23 Parvati Agra Bird Sanctuary Uttar Pradesh

    situated in the Gonda District 

    2.12.2019 7.22
    24 Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary Tamil Nadu 19.8.2002 385
    25 Pong Dam Lake Himachal Pradesh 19.8.2002 156.62
    26 Renuka Wetland Himachal Pradesh 8.11.2005 0.2
    27 Ropar Lake Punjab 22.1.2002 13.65
    28 Rudrasagar Lake Tripura 8.11.2005 2.4
    29 Saman Bird Sanctuary Uttar Pradesh

    Mainpuri district, in western Uttar Pradesh.

    2.12.2019 52.63
    30 Samaspur Bird Sanctuary Uttar Pradesh

    situated near Salon in Raebareli district

    3.10.2019 79.94
    31 Sambhar Lake Rajasthan 23.3.1990 240
    32 Sandi Bird Sanctuary Uttar Pradesh

    Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh

    26.9.2019 30.85
    33 Sarsai Nawar Jheel Uttar Pradesh

    Etawah district

    19.9.2019 16.13
    34 Sasthamkotta Lake Kerala 19.8.2002 3.73
    35 Sunderbans Wetland West Bengal 30.1.2019 4230
    36 Surinsar-Mansar Lakes Jammu and Kashmir 8.11.2005 3.5
    37 Sur Sarovar

    also known as Keetham Lake

    Uttar Pradesh

    In Agra district

    21.8.2020 4.31
    38 Tso Kar Wetland Complex Ladakh 17.11.2020 95.77
    39 Tsomoriri Lake Jammu and Kashmir 19.8.2002 120
    40 Upper Ganga River
    (Brijghat to Narora Stretch)
    Uttar Pradesh 8.11.2005 265.9
    41 Vembanad Kol Wetland Kerala 19.8.2002 1512.5
    42. Wular Lake Jammu & Kashmir 23.3.1990 189
    43. Wadhvana wetland Gujarat. It is located in Dabhoi Tehsil (Taluka), Vadodara  06-08-2021 630 ha
    44. The Thol Lake  wildlife sanctuary   Mehsana district of Gujarat state 06-08-2021 699 ha
    45. Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary Haryana State

    Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary is a human-made freshwater wetland and is the largest wetland in Haryana State


    06-08-2021 412 ha
    46. Sultanpur National Park
    Gurugram, Haryana
    06-08-2021 142.5 ha


    RAMSAR- Wetland Sites in India
    Four New Ramsar Sites in India: 
    Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary:
    • Bhindawas wildlife sanctuary supports more than ten globally threatened species including the endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis), Pallas’s fish eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus) and black-bellied tern (Sterna acuticauda).
    • The Site regularly supports more than 1.7% of the biogeographic population of greylag goose (Anser anser) and more than 2% of the biogeographic population of Indian cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis).
    • Mammals recorded at the Site include nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), common mongoose (Herpestes edwardsi), and black-naped hare (Lepus nigricollis).
    Sultanpur National Park:  
    • The Sultanpur National Park 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 (Vanellus gregarious), and the endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), saker falcon (Falco cherrug), Pallas’s fish eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus) and black-bellied tern (Sterna acuticauda).
    • The Site regularly supports more than 7% of the biogeographic population of bar-headed goose (Anser indicus) and more than 8% of the biogeographic population of greylag goose (Anser anser).
    The Thol Lake  wildlife sanctuary:
    • This shallow reservoir dominated by open water areas was originally constructed for irrigation in 1912.
    • In 1988, it was declared as a wildlife sanctuary to protect the birdlife found there: it is on the Central Asian Flyway and more than 320 bird species can be found, making up some 57% of all the bird species of Gujarat.
    • More than 110 waterbird species have been recorded, about 43% of India’s waterbird species, with almost 30% of those species being migratory waterbirds.
    • More than 30 of the waterbirds are threatened, such as the critically endangered white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius), and the vulnerable sarus crane (Grus antigone), common pochard (Aythya farina) and lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus). 
    • This wetland regularly hosts more than 1% of the population of species including glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus).
    Wadhvana wetland:
    • The Wadhvana wetland 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 (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), the vulnerable common pochard (Aythya ferina), and the near-threatened Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), grey-headed fish-eagle (Icthyophaga ichthyaetus), and ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca).
    • In addition, the red-crested pochard (Netta rufina), a duck that is otherwise rare in Western India, is regularly recorded here during winter. Resident birds include the vulnerable river tern (Sterna aurantia) and sarus crane (Grus antigone) and the near-threatened black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus).
    • Almost 46,000 individual birds were recorded during a mid-winter waterbird census conducted in 2020. 


    References – http://moef.gov.in/en/ 



    (Source:  Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India)

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