Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is now a Ramsar site

It is the first and the only waterbody so far in Karnataka to have the recognition

August 03, 2022 09:45 pm | Updated August 04, 2022 01:41 pm IST - MYSURU

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Srirangapatna supports more than 1% of the world’s population of spot-billed pelicans.

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Srirangapatna supports more than 1% of the world’s population of spot-billed pelicans. | Photo Credit: File Photo

The renowned Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Srirangapatna has been declared a Ramsar site underlining its status as a wetland of international importance.

This is also the first and the only Ramsar site in Karnataka though India’s tally of such sites stands at 64. The Union Minister for Environment Forests and Climate Change Bhupendra Yadav took to Twitter to announce the recognition to 10 additional sites in India, including Ranganathittu, on Wednesday.

Confirming the developments, V. Karikalan, Deputy Conservator of Forests, said as a Ramsar site Ranganathittu would command international attention and importance as a wetland of global importance.

India is a signatory to the Convention on Wetlands which was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and provides a framework for conservation of wetlands.

As against a global population of nearly 17,000, Ranganathittu supports about 1,000 of the spot-billed pelicans.

As against a global population of nearly 17,000, Ranganathittu supports about 1,000 of the spot-billed pelicans. | Photo Credit: SRIRAM MA

The convention lists as many as nine criteria and fulfilling even one of them is sufficient for a wetland to be recognised as a Ramsar site. According to the Ramsar convention, ‘’A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region’’. Similarly, it has spelt out criteria based on bird population of specific species, fish, and other taxa. One of the Ramsar criteria is that a wetland should support 20,000 or more waterfowl while another is that it should regularly support 1% of the population of one species or sub-species of water bird. Mr. Karikalan said Ranganathittu meets three to four of the nine criteria pertaining to local flora, fauna, and ecology and hence it is a well-deserved recognition.

The sanctuary supports a high population of painted storks and mugger crocodiles as well besides other species of fish.

The sanctuary supports a high population of painted storks and mugger crocodiles as well besides other species of fish. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The bird sanctuary supports more than 1% of the world’s population of spot-billed pelicans — as against a global population of nearly 17,000, Ranganathittu supports about 1,000 of these birds, said Mr. Karikalan. During the last enumeration exercise as many as 220 bird species were listed, he added.

Similarly, it supports a high population of painted storks and mugger crocodiles besides other species of fish and hence the six islands and the water surrounding them would be part of Ramsar site, said Mr. Karikalan.

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