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February 5 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


Recently, India marked World Wetlands Day by expanding its Ramsar sites to 80, with the addition of five new wetlands.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change designated these sites to emphasize the importance of wetlands in ecological balance and human well-being.

This move brings the total Ramsar sites in India to 80, with three in Karnataka and two in Tamil Nadu.

Ramsar Convention

The Ramsar Convention, initiated on February 2, 1971, in Ramsar, Iran, is an international treaty.

It aims to recognize and protect wetlands of global importance.

In India, it came into effect on February 1, 1982, providing a framework for declaring wetlands as Ramsar sites.

World Wetlands Day (WWD)

  • World Wetlands Day is celebrated globally on February 2nd to commemorate the adoption of the Ramsar Convention in 1971.
  • The theme for WWD 2024 is ‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing,’ emphasizing the vital role wetlands play in flood protection, clean water, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities.

Characteristics of Newly Designated Ramsar Sites

Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve (Karnataka):

  • This is an artificially constructed village irrigation tank that dates back centuries, covering an expanse of 244.04 acres adjacent to Ankasamudra village.

Aghanashini Estuary (Karnataka):

  • Encompassing an area of 4801 hectares, this estuary is established at the confluence of Aghanashini River and the Arabian Sea.
  • The brackish water in this estuary provides various ecosystem services, including mitigating flood and erosion risks, conserving biodiversity, and supporting local livelihoods.
  • Activities such as fishing, agriculture, collection of edible bivalves and crabs, shrimp aquaculture, traditional fish farming in estuarine rice fields (known locally as Gazni rice fields), and salt production thrive in this wetland.
  • Additionally, the mangroves along the estuary serve as a protective barrier against storms and cyclones.

Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve (Karnataka):

  • Spanning almost 50 hectares, this human-made wetland was designed for rainwater storage to facilitate irrigation.
  • The reserve hosts two vulnerable species, the Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) and River Tern (Sterna aurantia), along with four near-threatened species – Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster), Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus), Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus), and Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala).
  • Globally recognized as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), it is also a significant wintering ground for the Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) in Southern India.

Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu):

  • Utilized by local villagers for cultivating crops like paddy, sugar cane, cotton, corn, and split red gram, this sanctuary is a vital water source.
  • Home to about 198 bird species, notable visitors include the Bar-headed Goose, Pin-tailed Duck, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, and Cotton Teal.

Longwood Shola Reserve Forest (Tamil Nadu):

  • Named after the Tamil word “Solai,” meaning a tropical rainforest, this reserve forest is found in the upper reaches of the Nilgiris, Anamalais, Palni hills, Kalakadu, Mundanthurai, and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
  • Functioning as forested wetlands, these areas provide habitats for globally endangered species such as the Black-chinned Nilgiri Laughing Thrush (Strophocincla cachinnans), Nilgiri Blue Robin (Myiomela major), and vulnerable Nilgiri Wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii).

Conservation Initiatives for Wetlands

Global Level:

  • Montreux Record: Identifies wetland sites facing threats to encourage conservation efforts.
  • World Wetlands Day: Celebrated globally on February 2nd to raise awareness about wetland conservation.

National Level:

  • Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017: Guidelines for the conservation and sustainable management of wetlands.
  • National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA): A comprehensive plan for conserving aquatic ecosystems in India.
  • Amrit Dharohar Capacity Building Scheme: A scheme focusing on capacity building for wetland conservation.
  • National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP):
  • Launched in 1985 to address threats to vulnerable wetland ecosystems.
  • Aims to enhance wetland conservation through various measures.

In conclusion, the addition of new Ramsar sites in India underscores the nation’s commitment to wetland conservation. These initiatives not only recognize the ecological significance of wetlands but also contribute to the sustainable well-being of both the environment and human communities.


February 5
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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