World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February. India currently has 26 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 689,131 hectares including including Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir.
Ramsar sites are wetlands considered to be of international importance. The Ramsar convention, an international body, forms the basis for identification of such wetlands. The international treaty came into effect in 1971 after identifying the first such wetland at the Ramsar city of Iran. The Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
Ramsar Sites in India
- Wular Lake, Jammu& Kashmir
Largest freshwater lake of river Jhelum Basin. Provides flood protection to Kashmir Valley.
- Hokera, Jammu&Kashmir
1,375 ha – Haven for water birds
- Surisnsar-Mansar Lakes, Jammu & Kashmir
Wildlife sanctuary and a sacred site supporting several species of high conservation value
- Tsomoriri, Jammu & Kashmir
Breeding ground for endangered black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis) and bar-headed geese (Anser indicus)
- Chandertal, Himachal Pradesh
Natural habitat to rare flora and fauna species of alpine region
- Pong Dam lake, Himachal Pradesh
The Maharana Pratap Sagar created by Pong Dam supports highly diverse waterbird habitats
- Kanjili, Punjab
Storage area for irrigation.
- Harike Lake, Punjab
It is the main source of water for Indira Gandhi that irrigates Rajasthan.
- Ropar, Punjab
Important bird watching and boating site.
- Renuka, Himachal Pradesh
A natural wetland with freshwater springs
- Sambhar Lake
Second largest breeding ground for flamingos in India
- Keoladeo National Park (KNP), Rajasthan
Known as the Bharatpur bird sanctuary, also a world heritage site.
- Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch)
Ganga river dolphin, crocodile and otters are some of the mammalian species found here.
- Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat
Largest wetland bird sanctuary in Gujarat with around 250 species of water birds
- Bhoj Wetland, Madhya Pradesh
Main source of water for Bhopal City
16. Deepor Beel, Assam
Supports high concentration of migratory waterbird
17. Loktak Lake, Manipur
The only known natural habitat for Manipur brow-antlered deer
18. Rudrasagar lake, Tripura
Ideal habitat for riverine fish species
19. East Kolkata Wetlands, West Bengal
Sewage fed fish ponds
These wetlands treat the city’s sewage and provides for fish and vegetables
20. Bhitarkanika Mangroves, Odisha
Home to endangered salt water crocodiles and Gahirmatha beach is the largest known Olive Ridley sea turtle nestling in the world.
21. Chilika, Odisha
One of the only two lagoons with population of Irrawaddy dolphins. Its rich fishery resources sustains 0.2 million fishers
22. Kolleru Lake, Andhra Pradesh
Acts as a flood balancing reservoir and was once known for its spot-billed pelicans sighting.
23. Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
Coastal swamps and salt pans
Supports high diversity of water bird
24. Vembanad-Kol, Kerala
Floodplain estuary complex
Known for backwater tourism and rich source of live and sub-fossil clam deposits.
25. Ashtamudi, Kerala
A palm shaped estuary with eight branches, gateway to the backwaters of Kerala.
26. Sashthamkotta Lake, Kerala
Source of drinking water for half a million people in Kollam City and its suburbs.