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Wednesday, July 11

India will add 25 wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites in next three years

According to the an official report submitted to the ongoing 11th meeting of the conference of contracting parties to the Ramsar convention for protecting wetlands, India will add 25 more wetlands to the list of internationally important wetlands in the country within the next three years. Presently 25 wetlands have been identified as wetlands of international importance from india.
The country, which is a party to the convention has identified 115 important wetlands in the country so far and has implemented a National Wetland conservation Programme for the conservation of these sites. Of late, according to official communication, 24 more sites are added to this list.
Lake Tsomoriri, ramsar sites in India,
Lake Tsomoriri
Credit: ©Pankaj Chandan / WWF-India

It was India’s obligation to add 25 wetlands as Ramsar sites of international importance, as per the conditions of the CoP – 7 which was held in Costa Rica in 1999. Presently, 6 more sites are in the process of getting designated as wetlands of international importance. The country has expressed hopes to “designate at least 25 more Ramsar sites during the next triennium”.

Moreover, the authorities will try to notify at least 500 wetlands in the region for putting up regulations to save the degrading ecosystems of the wetlands.

Presently, five among the 25 Ramsar sites in India support globally threatened species which include Cervus IIdi IIdi in loktak and Irrawadi dolphin found in Chilika Lake. Wetland areas in Keladeo National park is known for supporting critically endangered Siberian Crane. However, according to official response, this rare migratory bird has not been recorded from the area for the last few years, with the last record is of 2 individuals in 1999. Royal Bengal Tiger in Sunderbans and black necked Crane in Tso Murari in Jammu and Kashmir are some other threatened species supported by Ramsar sites in India.

Goliath Heron, which is expected to have just 20 individuals in South East Asia is also recorded from some of the Ramsar sites in India. Oriental Darter, Painted Stork, Blanck-neck stork, Black-headed ibis, Lesser Flamingo, Ferruginous Duchm Beach Thick-knee, Asian Dowitcher, Black-bellied Tern, Grey headed Fishing Eagle and Pallid Harrier were also recorded from some of these conserved areas.

According to the official response in the document, government is finding it difficult to change the mindset of the managers while sectorial approach is another major bottleneck in implementing the terms of the convention. Lack of infrastructure, expertise and man power is another major bottleneck faced by some Indian states in Ramsar conservation. 

Read more on Ramsar CoP11 coverage by IBT

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