There are 48 Ramsar Sites in India, the wetlands listed under the Ramsar Convention. Any wetland that intends to preserve the natural ecosystem and allow utilisation of resources is listed under Ramsar Sites.
These are rives, lakes, marshes, flooded forests, coral reefs, deltas, mangroves, and man-made reservoirs and ponds. While they are spread in only 6% of the Earth’s surface, about 40% of animal and plant species live in these wetlands.
Among all the 48 sites, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of Ramsar Sites, with nine wetlands considered to be of international significance. Punjab is next to UP with six sites. The state is now planning to promote these sites as recreational, tourist, educational, and water sports spots. As these wetlands are home to animals and plants, they can be turned into beautiful destinations for tourists and nature lovers.
The Ramsar Sites in Uttar Pradesh
In 2005, the upper Ganga river that stretches from Brigghat to Narora became the first wetland to acquire the status of a Ramsar Site. It was the only site in UP till 2019 when six other places were given recognition. Sandi Bird Sanctuary in Hardoi is a freshwater ecosystem providing habitat to over 40,000 species.
It is a highly popular tourist destination and supports farmers with livestock farming. Another Ramsar Site in UP is the Sarsai Nawar Jheel which is a permanent marsh located in Etawah. This wetland is an excellent example of the cohabitation of animals and plants.
Another popular wetland that acquired the status of Ramsar Site is a marsh in Rae Bareli named Samaspur Bird Sanctuary. Over 75,000 birds are counted annually in this sanctuary, including some endangered species. Moreover, over 45 freshwater fish species habitat the wetland. Next is the Saman Bird Sanctuary, a U-shaped lake in Mainpuri that hosts more than 50000 birds every year.
Two such lakes form another Ramsar Site known as Parvati Agra bird sanctuary. Then there is Nawabganj bird sanctuary located in Unnao, which is a heaven for birds, giving shelter to some of the most endangered species.
The Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, or Keetham Lake, in Agra, got the recognition of a Ramsar site in 2020. It is a man-made reservoir that boasts a rich ecosystem that provides dwelling to residents and migrating birds and over 60 species of fish. The ninth Ramsar Site in UP got its status in 2021.
The Haiderpur wetland is home to more than 25000 birds and a refuge for migrational species. UP has about 1.2 lakh wetlands outside forests, of which about 24,000 are bigger than 2.2 hectares and should be conserved.
The Ramsar sites in India nurture the country's enormous ecological wealth, and the recent Ramsar sites in UP stand to significantly enhance the state's tourism potential over the next few years.
FAQs About Ramsar Sites in Uttar Pradesh
- Which is the 47th recognised Ramsar site in India?
The Haiderpur wetland in Uttar Pradesh got recognised as the 47th Ramsar Site in 2021 in India.
- How many Ramsar sites were added in 2021?
Four new sites were added to the list which includes Bhindawas and Sultanpur from Haryana as well as Wadhwana and Thol from Gujarat.
- Which is the largest Ramsar site in India?
The largest Ramsar site in India is the Sunderbans Wetland in West Bengal spread across 4230 sq. km of area.