Two more Indian wetlands added to Ramsar list

09:09 PM Jun 05, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: India celebrated World Environment Day with the addition of the Nagi Bird Sanctuary and the Nakti Bird Sanctuary in Bihar to the global list of important wetlands.


These newly designated Ramsar sites are man-made reservoirs located in the Jhajha forest range of Jamui district in Bihar. Their catchments feature dry deciduous forests surrounded by hills.

“On World Environment Day 2024, happy to share that India has taken one more step towards preventing desertification and increasing drought resilience by adding two more wetlands — Nagi Bird Sanctuary and Nakti Bird Sanctuary — in Bihar to the list of Ramsar Sites.
This takes the number of Ramsar Sites in the country to 82 covering a total area of 13,32,746.24 ha. The move reflects the continued commitment of PM Narendra Modi ji towards environment protection,” Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav posted on ‘X’.

He said the two bird sanctuaries, covering a total area of 544.37 hectares, are reservoirs that store water during the rainy season and sustain water requirements during dry seasons for agriculture and household consumption of the locals.

“Both the sites are heavens for numerous migratory birds, playing a vital role in supporting the region’s ecological balance. I congratulate the people of Bihar for this feat,” Yadav said.


The Nakti Bird Sanctuary was primarily developed for irrigation through the construction of the Nakti Dam. Since the dam’s completion, the wetland and its surrounding area have provided habitat for over 150 species of birds, mammals, fish, aquatic plants, reptiles, and amphibians. Among them are globally threatened species, including the endangered Indian elephant and a vulnerable native catfish (wallago attu).

Designated as a bird sanctuary in 1984, Nakti hosts several migratory species during winter months, with over 20,000 birds congregating, including one of the largest gatherings of red-crested pochard (Netta rufina) on the Indo-Gangetic plain.

In addition to supporting local agricultural and domestic water needs, Nakti is a popular recreational bird-watching spot.

The Nagi Bird Sanctuary formed after the damming of the Nagi River, gradually creating water bodies with clear water and aquatic vegetation.

Recognized locally as a bird sanctuary in 1984, Nagi is also identified as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) by BirdLife International due to its significance for migratory bird species. Threatened migratory species that spend winter at the site include the critically endangered Baer’s pochard and the endangered steppe eagle.

Overall, the wetland and its fringes provide habitat for over 75 bird species, 33 fish species, and 12 aquatic plants. It also hosts one of the largest congregations of bar-headed geese on the Indo-Gangetic plain.

The wetland serves as a reliable water source for irrigating over 9,800 acres of agricultural land and supports recreation, tourism, and educational activities.

The Ramsar Convention aims to “develop and maintain an international network of wetlands important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through ecosystem components, processes, and benefits”.

India ratified the convention on February 1, 1982.


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