Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Nov 24, 2022, 14:56

Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is India’s largest natural flood plain situated in the Sant Kabir Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh. It was established in 1980 and was declared a Ramsar site on 2nd February 2022. Named after the village Bakhira, the Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary houses thousands of migratory birds each year.

A large number of European, Siberian, Tibetan, and Chinese migratory birds arrive at the Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in the winter. Learn more about this wildlife sanctuary, its history, and its significance here.

About Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary

The Forest and Wildlife Department of the Uttar Pradesh Government established the Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in 1990. Located in the Sant Kabir Nagar district of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, this wildlife sanctuary is the largest natural floodplain wetland in India. The Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a vast species of resident and migratory birds.

Each year, around 4000 migratory birds of various species come flying from Tibet, China, Siberia, and Europe to this wildlife sanctuary. Besides birds, the Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to a variety of fauna, including trees, shrubs, hydrophytes, etc.


Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary

Governed By

Government of India


Sant Nagar district, Uttar Pradesh

Known For

Migratory birds

Designated As

Ramsar Site

Bakhira Ramsar Site

On World Wetlands Day 2022 (2nd February), the Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary was officially designated as a Ramsar Site. This announcement was made by Bhupendra Yadav, the Union Environment Minister in Uttar Pradesh. Now, the number of Ramsar sites has currently increased to 49 by adding Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary to the list.

Bakhira is a river-connecting wetland situated in shallow waters west of the Rapti riverbank. Located in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bakhira Ramsar Site is 44 km west of Gorakhpur, 18 km away from Khalilabad, and 55 km away from Basti.

About India’s Wildlife Sanctuaries:

  • Around 3.73% of the country's total geographical area is covered by 564 existing wildlife sanctuaries.
  • India’s wildlife sanctuaries have an essential role in offering stability and protecting the natural habitat of various locations.
  • Moreover, these wildlife sanctuaries are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
  • Besides wildlife sanctuaries, there are numerous Ramsar sites or wetland sites that have become the largest among the countries of South Asia.
  • Bakhira Ramsar Site was recently added to India’s Ramsar sites on 2nd February 2022, on the occasion of World Wetlands Day.

Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary - Features

Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is known for being India’s largest natural wetland. But there are many more things about this sanctuary that makes it special. Here are some of the features of this wildlife sanctuary:

  • Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary covers a total area of 2894 hectares. In total, it comprises 1059 hectares of agricultural, 1819 hectares of Gram Samaj, and 15 hectares of Reserve Forest land.
  • The terrain and landscape of the Bakhira Ramsar Site are almost flat.
  • This wetland is home to around 45 different species of fish and 119 species of plants.
  • The dominant species of fish found in this wetland are Labeo rohita and Channa sp.
  • Every year in winter months, thousands of bird species from Europe, Siberia, and Central Asia migrate to this wetland after covering a distance of about 5000km.
  • Some really rare species, such as the Grey-headed swamphen, commonly known as Purple Swamp-hen, is one of the water birds that are usually found here.
  • The Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary supports many species of mammals, fishes, reptiles, and amphibians.
  • Small mammals such as the Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Jungle Cat Felis Chaus, and Small Indian Mongoose Herpestes javanicus reside in this sanctuary.

Bakhira Ramsar Site Ecosystem

The ecosystem of the Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary supports many different species of aquatic plants. However, there are a lesser number of marine species because of the harsh climatic conditions and rocky soil. Here are some more details about the ecosystem of the Bakhira Ramsar Site:

  • The humidity level moves above 70% after the monsoon at this wildlife sanctuary.
  • The average annual rainfall recorded in the areas surrounding the wetland is about 1166 mm.
  • The average maximum temperature during winter is 23℃, and the minimum is 9℃.
  • The Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary offers nesting ground to a number of birds that fly from parts of Europe, Siberia, and Central Asia in winter months.

Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary Significance

The Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is significant in many ways. It has its distinctive features and is home to thousands of migratory birds. But, besides that, the wetlands are also a popular site for tourism and recreational activities. It is the 49th Ramsar Site in India and the 10th Ramsar Site in Uttar Pradesh.

Bakhira Ramsar Site also contributes to food supply and nutrient cycling. The sanctuary is regarded highly for its flora and fauna and its birdlife, which is its main attraction. The Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is of immense significance for the livelihood of the villagers residing nearby. In the villages that are dependent on the wetland, people earn their livelihood from fishing, fuelwood collection, and agricultural activities.

Important Current Affairs Topics

World Soil DayWorld Braille Day
ISL Winners ListWorld Fisheries Day
La Liga Winners ListUEFA Champions League Winners
FIFA World Cup Winners ListAirport Authority of India
List of Districts in Andhra PradeshAfrican Forest Elephants

FAQs on Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary

Q1. Where is Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary situated?

Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Sant Nagar district of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. It is located west of the Rapti riverbank, 44 km west of Gorakhpur. The Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most important Ramsar Sites in India.

Q2. Why is Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary popular?

Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is an open habitat for the vast species of residents as well as migratory birds. It is famous for the migratory birds it houses and also because it is India’s largest natural wetland.

Q3. What is Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary known for?

Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is known for being home to thousands of migratory birds from Siberia, Central Asia, and Europe. This sanctuary is also the largest natural wetland in India and provides for the livelihood of hundreds of villagers who reside nearby.

Q4. Is Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary a Ramsar site?

Yes, Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary is a Ramsar Site. It was announced as a Ramsar Site on World Wetlands Day 2022 (2nd February 2022) by Bhupendra Yadav, the Union Environment Minister in Uttar Pradesh. The number of Ramsar sites has currently increased to 49 by adding Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary to the list.