New Ramsar Sites
#GS3 #Environment #Conservation #Wetlands
Kabartal Wetland (Bihar) and Asan Conservation Reserve (Uttrakhand) have been designated as Ramsar sites, making them ‘Wetlands of International Importance’.
- The Sites are particularly important to the avian diversity of their States, with each hosting hundreds of bird species of which several are critically endangered.
- Total number of sites: 39
- Kabartal Wetland (on the List of Wetlands of International Importance), also known as Kanwar Jheel, covers 2,620 hectares of the Indo-Gangetic plains in the northern Bihar State.
- The Site is one of 18 wetlands within an extensive floodplain complex; it floods during the monsoon season to a depth of 1.5 metres. This absorption of floodwaters is a vital service in Bihar State.
- During the dry season, areas of marshland dry out and are used for agriculture.
- Significant biodiversity is present, with 165 plant species and 394 animal species recorded, including 221 bird species.
- The Wetland is an important stopover along the Central Asian Flyway.
- It is also a valuable site for fish biodiversity with over 50 species documented.
- Five critically endangered species inhabit the site, including three vultures – the red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) – and two waterbirds, the sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri).
- Major threats to the Site include water management activities such as drainage, water abstraction, damming and canalization.
Asan Conservation Reserve
- It is a 444-hectare stretch of the Asan River running down to its confluence with the Yamuna River in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand.
- The damming of the River by the Asan Barrage in 1967 resulted in siltation above the dam wall, which helped to create some of the Site’s bird-friendly habitats.
- These habitats support 330 species of birds including the critically endangered red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri).
- Other non-avian species present include 49 fish species, one of these being the endangered Putitora mahseer (Tor putitora). Fish use the site for feeding, migration and spawning.