3 Feb 2022.
The Government of India recently added two new Ramsar sites. The sites were added on the World Wetlands Day. The World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2 all over the world. The day spreads the importance of wetlands. It is celebrated on February 2 because the Ramsar Convention was held on February 2, 1971 at Ramsar, Iran.
What are the two sites?
Bakhira Wild life sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh and Khijadia Bird Sanctuary in Gujarat. These are the 48th and 49th Ramsar sites of India. Earlier, the 47th Ramsar site was Haiderpur Wetland in Uttar Pradesh.
Bakhira Wildlife sanctuary
- It is the largest natural flood plain wetland in India. The floodplain wetland is that part of the river valley that gets flooded with water periodically. The resident time of water here is greater than flood plains.
- The sanctuary is located to the west of Gorakhpur. It is breeding ground for resident birds and a staging ground for number of migratory birds.
- The Siberian birds visit the wetland during winter. Also, birds from China, Europe, Tibet and Siberia come to the lake during winters.
- There are more than 30 fish species. The dominant ones are Chana and Labeo rohita. The wetland is the breeding ground for the grey – headed swamphen. It is also called purple swamp hen or Indian purple moorhen.
- It is locally called Kaima. The wetland is connected to the Bakhira canal. The canal runs 15 kms supplying water for irrigation to the nearby villages.
Khijadia Bird Sanctuary
- It is located in Jamnagar, Gujarat. More than 300 migratory birds visit the sanctuary. It has freshwater marshlands, freshwater lakes and salt water marshlands. It is fed by river Ruparel.
- It also has creeks that support mangroves. It is located in the Gulf of Kutch region. The sanctuary is known for different types of nests such as floating nests, on ground nests and the ones built on trees.
- The black – necked storks are found in abundant in the sanctuary. It is not found anywhere else in India.
India has 52 tiger reserves. With the two new Ramsar sites, India now has 49 Ramsar sites. Also, there are two blue tag beaches in India.