Four more Indian sites -- two each from Haryana and Gujarat --have been recognised as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, taking the number of such sites in the country to 46, the Union Environment Ministry said Saturday.
According to the ministry, for the first time, two wetlands in Haryana -- Sultanpur National Park in Gurgaon and Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary in Jhajjar -- have been included in the Ramsar list.
The aim of the Ramsar list is "to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits".
Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav tweeted, "PM Shri @narendramodi ji's concern for the environment has led to overall improvement in how India cares for its wetlands. Happy to inform that four more Indian wetlands have got Ramsar recognition as wetlands of international importance."
"Thol and Wadhwana from Gujarat and Sultanpur and Bhindawas from Haryana have made the cut for Ramsar recognition. The number of Ramsar sites in India is now 46," he added.
Haryana's Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary is a human-made freshwater wetland. It is also the largest in Haryana. Over 250 bird species use the sanctuary throughout the year as a resting and roosting site.
The site supports more than 10 globally threatened species including the endangered Egyptian Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Pallas's Fish Eagle, and Black-bellied Tern.
The Sultanpur National Park in the state Haryana supports more than 220 species of resident, winter migratory and local migratory waterbirds at critical stages of their life cycles.
More than 10 of these are globally threatened, including the critically endangered sociable lapwing, and the endangered Egyptian Vulture, Saker Falcon, Pallas's Fish Eagle and Black-bellied Tern.
The Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat lies on the Central Asian Flyway and more than 320 bird species can be found here.
The wetland supports more than 30 threatened waterbird species, such as the critically endangered White-rumped Vulture and Sociable Lapwing, and the vulnerable Sarus Crane, Common Pochard and Lesser White-fronted Goose.
The Wadhvana Wetland in Gujarat is internationally important for its birdlife as it provides wintering ground to migratory waterbirds, including over 80 species that migrate on the Central Asian Flyway.
They include some threatened or near-threatened species such as the endangered Pallas's fish-Eagle, the vulnerable Common Pochard, and the near-threatened Dalmatian Pelican, Grey-headed Fish-eagle and Ferruginous Duck.
The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. It is named after the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the Caspian Sea, where the treaty was signed on February 2, 1971.
The 46 Ramsar sites in India include the Chilika Lake in Odisha, Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan, Harike Lake in Punjab, Loktak Lake in Manipur and Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir.