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News: Sultanpur, Bhindawas wetlands near Delhi get Ramsar tag-11-08-2021


GURUGRAM: For the first time, two wetlands of Haryana — Sultanpur National Park in Gurugram and Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary in Jhajjar — have been included in the Ramsar list. The number of protected Ramsar sites in India has now gone up to 46, with two more from Gujarat being included this year.
Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance that have been designated under the criteria of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, 1971. The Ramsar status gives wetlands legal protection and guidelines for management and will supplement Haryana’s efforts to ensure their conservation.

The inclusion of the two wetlands was announced on the Ramsar secretariat’s website last week, while the state wildlife department said a final notification from the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change could come on August 15. Haryana has some 1,441 wetlands, but none were protected under the Ramsar treaty till now, according to data from the ministry.

The forest department had recommended Sultanpur and Bhindawas wetlands for the Ramsar tag on February 2, World Wetlands Day. While Sultanpur National Park is spread across 353 acres, Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary covers more than 1,000 acres. Both wetlands are natural homes to a wealth of bird species and attract a large number of migratory birds every year, including the black-winged stilt, pond heron, pied kingfisher, purple heron, shoveller, white-breasted waterhen, whitebreasted kingfisher and prinia.

According to the Ramsar document, “Sultanpur wetland harbours a rich plant and animal life: it supports more than 220 species of resident, winter migratory and local migratory waterbirds at critical stages of their life cycles. More than ten of these are globally threatened, including the critically endangered sociable lapwing.”


Meanwhile, the Bhindawas wetland provides a safe habitat to numerous animals and plants, the document said. A total of 265 species of birds have been reported from the site. More than 30,000 migratory birds belonging to over 250 species visit Bhindawas throughout the year, the document noted.


Haryana is awaiting the notification of the two sites getting the Ramsar tag from the Centre. “We had forwarded all required paperwork to the environment ministry. Subsequently, it sent a proposal to the Ramsar secretariat in Switzerland. All required documentation is complete. We are still awaiting the notification from the ministry, which will most likely be announced on August 15,” said ML Malik, chief conservator of forest (wildlife), south Haryana.

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