World Wetlands Day 2024

  • India has increased its tally of Ramsar sites (Wetlands of International Importance) to 80 from the existing 75.
  • Five more wetlands as Ramsar sites, designated.
  • Three of these sites are located in Karnataka and two, in Tamilnadu.
  • The total area covered under Ramsar sites is now 1.33 million ha.
  • Tamil Nadu continues to have a maximum number of Ramsar Sites (16 sites) followed by Uttar Pradesh (10 sites).

Background:

  • India is one of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971.
  • World Wetlands Day (WWD) is celebrated across the globe to commemorate the adoption of this international agreement on wetlands on 2nd February 1971.
  • India ratified this Convention on 1st February 1982.
  • This year, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India in collaboration with the Government of Madhya Pradesh, is organizing the national World Wetlands Day event at Sirpur Lake, Indore, a Ramsar site designated in 2022.
  • Dr. Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of Ramsar Convention is visiting India to participate in the WWD 2024 on 2 February 2024.

List of Newly Designated Ramsar Sites1:

Sl No  Name Of Ramsar Site State Total Area In Ha
1 Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve Karnataka 98.76
2 Aghanashini Estuary Karnataka 4801
3 Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve Karnataka 54.38
4 Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary Tamil Nadu 453.72
5 Longwood Shola Reserve Forest Tamil Nadu 116.0075,523.867

Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve:

  • It is a human-made Village Irrigation Tank built centuries back.
  • It is spread over an area of 98.76ha (244.04 acres) adjoining the Ankasamudra village.
  • It has over 210 species of plants, 8 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles, 240 species of birds, 41 species of fishes, 3 species of frogs, 27 species of butterflies and 32 species of odonates.
  • Over 30’000 waterbirds nest and roost in this wetland.
  • It supports more than 1% of the biogeographic population of Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) and Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus).

Aghanashini Estuary:

  • It is spread over an area of 4801 ha.
  • It is formed at the confluence of the Aghanashini River with the Arabian Sea.
  • It provides flood and erosion risk mitigation, biodiversity conservation and livelihood support.
  • It provides livelihoods to 6000-7500 families by supporting fishing, agriculture, collection of edible bivalves and crabs, shrimp aquaculture, traditional fish farming in the estuarine rice fields (locally known as Gazni rice fields), bivalve shell collection and salt production.
  • The mangroves bordering the estuary help to protect the shores against storms and cyclones.
  • It regularly supports over 43,000 counts of over 66 water bird species.
  • It supports more than 1% of the biogeographic population of 15 water bird species (which includes river tern, oriental darter, lesser black-backed gull, woolly-necked stork, Eurasian oystercatcher and others).

Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve:

  • It is a human-made wetland with an area of nearly 50 hectares which was constructed to store rainwater for irrigation purposes.
  • It is home to over 166 species of birds, of which 130 are migratory.
  • It harbours two vulnerable species, namely Common pochard (Aythya ferina) and River tern (Sterna aurantia) and four near-threatened species, namely Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster), Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus), Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus) and Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala).
  • Nearly 8,000 birds visit the site during winter.
  • It is one of the largest wintering grounds for the Bar-headed goose (Anser indicus) in Southern India.
  • It is a designated Important Bird Area.
  • It is listed as a priority area for conservation in India.

Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary:

  • It spans an area of 453.72 ha.
  • It is one of the largest inland wetlands of Tamil Nadu and is a significant source of groundwater recharge for the area.
  • Water is utilized by the villagers for cultivating crops such as paddy, sugar cane, cotton, corn, and split red gram.
  • It has one of the largest congregations of waterbirds in the State of Tamil Nadu.
  • About 198 species of birds have been recorded here.
  • Important are the Bar-headed Goose, Pin-tailed duck, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Eurasian Wigeon, Common teal and Cotton teal.

The Longwood Shola Reserve Forest:

  • It derives its name from the Tamil word, “Solai”, which means a ‘tropical rain forest’.
  • The ‘Sholas’ are found in the upper reaches of the Nilgiris, Anamalais, Palni hills, Kalakadu, Mundanthurai and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
  • It serves as a habitat for the globally endangered Black-chinned Nilgiri Laughing thrush (Strophocincla cachinnans), Nilgiri Blue Robin (Myiomela major), and vulnerable Nilgiri wood pigeon (Columba elphinstonii).
  • As many as 14 out of 26 endemic bird species of the Western Ghats are found here.
Posted in Current Affairs.