List of Ramsar sites in India

List of Ramsar sites in India

There are 42 Ramsar sites in India. These are wetlands deemed to be of “international importance” under the Ramsar Convention.

According to WWF-India, wetlands are one of the most threatened of all ecosystems in India. Loss of vegetation, salinization, excessive inundation, water pollution, invasive species, excessive development and road building, have all damaged the country’s wetlands. As of December 2020 there are 42 recognized Ramsar sites in India.

Largest wetland chilika lake

Smallest wetland Harike wetland


(as of December 2020)

#NameLocationDesignatedArea (km2)Description
1Ashtamudi WetlandKerala19 August 2002614A natural backwater in Kollam district, Kerala. The rivers Kallada and Pallichal drain into it. It forms an estuary with the sea at Neendakara which is a famous fishing harbour. National Waterway 3 passes through it. Most tastiest backwater fish in Kerala, the karimeen of Kanjiracode Kayal is from Ashtamudi Lake.
2Beas Conservation ReservePunjab
26 September 201964A 185-kilometre stretch of the Beas River located primarily in the north-west of Punjab. The river meanders down from the Himalayan foothills to the Harike Headworks, where its course is diverted into a number of channels. The river is dotted with islands, sand bars and braided channels creating a complex environment supporting substantial biodiversity. More than 500 species of birds are documented along this stretch, along with more than 90 fish species. The reserve also hosts the only known population in India of the endangered Indus river dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor). Further threatened species include the endangered mahseer (Tor putitora) and hog deer (Hyelaphus porcinus) as well as the vulnerable smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata). In 2017, a programme was initiated to re-introduce the critically endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) with 47 individuals released into the river 30 years after their disappearance. Major threats include urban and domestic pollution as well as impacts of agriculture along most of the river’s course. The Department of Forest and Wildlife, Punjab, conducts the scientific management of the wetland.
3Bhitarkanika MangrovesOdisha19 August 2002650In 1975, an area of 672 km2 was declared the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. The core area of the sanctuary, with an area of 145 km2, was declared Bhitarkanika National Park in September 1998. Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, which bounds the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary to the east, was created in September 1997, and encompasses Gahirmatha Beach and an adjacent portion of the Bay of Bengal. Bhitarkanika Mangroves were designated a Ramsar wetland of international importance in 2002. It is also famous for its salt water crocodiles and olive ridley sea turtle.
4Bhoj WetlandMadhya Pradesh
19 August 200232It consists of two lakes located in the city of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. The two lakes are the Bhojtal (Upper Lake) and the Lower Lake, which lie to the west of the city centre. It is a man-made reservoir. More than 20,000 birds are observed annually. Bhoj Wetland was recognized as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 2002. Upper Lake acts as the lifeline of the city supplying 40% of its potable water. White storks, black-necked storks, bar-headed geese, spoonbills, etc., that have been rare sightings in the past, have started appearing. A recent phenomenon is the gathering of 100-120 sarus cranes in the lake. The largest bird of India, the sarus crane (Grus antigone) is known for its size, majestic flight and lifetime pairing.
5Chandra TaalHimachal Pradesh
8 November 20050.49A high altitude lake on the upper Chandra valley flowing to the Chenab River of the Western Himalayas (4,337 m asl) near the Kunzam pass joining the Himalayan and Pir Panjal ranges. It supports the CITES and IUCN Red Listed snow leopard and is a refuge for many species like the snowcockchukor, black ring stilt, kestrelgolden eaglechoughred fox, Himalayan ibex, and blue sheep. These species have developed adaptions to the cold arid climate, intense radiation, and oxygen deficiency. Some 65% of the larger catchment is degraded forest due to overgrazing by the nomadic herdsmen, while 35% is covered by grasslands. Other threatening factors to this fragile and sparse vegetation are summer trekking, littering waste and lack of sanitation facilities. Since declaring the site a nationally important wetland in 1994, the authorities have provided funds for ecotourism. The Spiti Forest Department is the custodian and the State Council of Science, Technology and Environment coordinats conservation management.
6Chilika LakeOdisha1 October 19811165A brackish water lagoon, spread over the districts of PuriKhordha and Ganjam on the east coast of India, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of over 1,100 km2. It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest lagoon in the world. The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, the Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and the Himalayas come here. These birds travel great distances; migratory birds probably follow much longer routes than the straight lines, possibly up to 12,000 km, to reach Chilika Lake. In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. In November 2002, the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award was presented to the Chilika Development Authority for “outstanding achievements in the field of restoration and wise use of wetlands and effective participation of local communities in these activities”. White-bellied sea eaglesgreylag geese,& nbsp;purple moorhenjacanaflamingosegretsgrey and purple heronsIndian rollerstorkswhite ibisspoonbillsbrahminy ducksshovellers, pintails, and more. Nalbana Island is the core area of the Ramsar designated wetlands of Chilika Lake. Nalbana was notified in 1987 and declared a bird sanctuary in 1973 under the Wildlife Protection Act. The Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) is the flagship species of Chilika lake. Chilka is home to the only known population of Irrawaddy dolphins in India and one of only two lagoons in the world that are home to this species. It is classified as critically endangered in five of the seven places it is known to live.
7Deepor BeelAssam19 August 200240A permanent freshwater lake in a former channel of the Brahmaputra River. It is of great biological importance and also essential as the only major storm water storage basin for the city of Guwahati. The beel is a staging site on migratory flyways and some of the largest concentrations of aquatic birds in Assam can be seen, especially in winter. Some globally threatened birds are supported, including the spot-billed pelican (Pelicanus philippensis), lesser and greater adjutant stork (Leptoptilos javanicus and dubius), and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri). The 50 fish species present provide livelihoods for a number of surrounding villages, and Nymphaea nuts and flowers, as well as ornamental fish, medicinal plants, and seeds of the giant water lily Euryale ferox provide major revenue sources in local markets; orchids of commercial value are found in the neighboring forest. Potential threats include over fishing and hunting pressure upon waterbirds, pollution from pesticides and fertilizers, and infestation by water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). A proposal to create a sewage canal from the city directly to the beel is considered to be disastrous in its potential effects.
8East Kolkata WetlandsWest Bengal19 August 2002125World-renowned as a model of a multiple use wetland, the site’s resource recovery systems, developed by local people through the ages, have saved the city of Kolkata from the costs of constructing and maintaining waste water treatment plants. The wetland forms an urban facility for treating the city’s waste water and utilizing the treated water for pisciculture and agriculture, through the recovery of nutrients in an efficient manner – the water flows through fish ponds covering about 4,000 ha, and the ponds act as solar reactors and complete most of their bio-chemical reactions with the help of solar energy. Thus the system is described as “one of the rare examples of environmental protection and development management where a complex ecological process has been adopted by the local farmers for mastering the resource recovery activities” (Kundu et al., 2008). The wetland provides about 150 tons of fresh vegetables daily, as well as some 10,500 tons of table fish per year, the latter providing livelihoods for about 50,000 people directly and as many again indirectly. The fish ponds are mostly operated by worker cooperatives, in some cases in legal associations and in others in cooperative groups whose tenurial rights are under legal challenge. A potential threat is seen in recent unauthorized use of the waste water outfall channels by industries which add metals to the canal sludge and threaten the edible quality of the fish and vegetables.
9Harike WetlandPunjab23 March 199041A shallow water reservoir with thirteen islands, at the confluence of two rivers. Dense floating vegetation covers 70% of the lake. It is an important site for breeding, wintering and staging birds, supporting over 200,000 Anatidae (ducks, geese, swans, etc.) during migration. The entire lake is leased on an annual basis to commercial fishery organizations.
10Hokera WetlandJammu and Kashmir8 November 200513.75Located in the northwest Himalayan biogeographic province of Kashmir, on the back of the snow-draped Pir Panchal (1,584 m asl), Hokera Wetland is only 10 km from scenic paradise of Srinagar. A natural perennial wetland contiguous to the Jhelum basin, it is the only site with remaining reedbeds of Kashmir and pathway of 68 waterfowl species like large egretgreat crested grebelittle cormorantcommon shelducktufted duck and endangered white-eyed pochard, coming from Siberia, China, central Asia, and northern Europe. It is an important source of food, spawning ground and nursery for fishes, besides offering feeding and breeding ground to a variety of water birds. Typical marshy vegetation complexes inhabit like TyphaPhragmit esEleocharisTrapa, and Nymphoides species ranging from shallow water to open water aquatic flora. Sustainable exploitation of fish, fodder and fuel is significant, despite water withdrawals since 1999. Potential threats include recent housing facilities, littered garbage, and demand for increasing tourist facilities.
11Kanjli WetlandPunjab22 January 20021.83A permanent stream, the Kali Bein, converted by construction of a small barrage in 1870 into a water storage area for irrigation purposes. The site fulfils Criteria 3 “it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region”, because of its importance in supporting a considerable diversity of aquatic, mesophytic, and terrestrial flora and fauna in the biogeographical region, and acts also as a key regulator of groundwater discharge and recharge with the seasons. By this means and by direct abstraction of water for irrigation by the local population, the site plays a crucial role in the agriculture which predominates on the surrounding fertile plain, with fewer pressures upon water supplies than elsewhere in the Punjab. The invasive water hyacinth is present and must be removed from time to time; increasing pollution levels, deforestation in the catchment area, and excessive grazing are seen as potential threats. The stream is considered to be the most significant in the state from the religious point of view, as it is associated with the first guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak. The stream itself and surrounding marsh is under provincial ownership and surrounding areas privately owned. The site is a centre for environmental tourism and picnicking.
12Keoladeo National ParkRajasthan1 October 198128.73A complex of ten artificial, seasonal lagoons, varying in size, situated in a densely populated region. Vegetation is a mosaic of scrub and open grassland that provides habitat for breeding, wintering and staging migratory birds. Also supported are five species of ungulates, four species of cats, and two species of primates, as well as diverse plants, fish and reptiles. The canal provides water for agriculture and domestic consumption. Cattle and water buffalo graze on the site. A field research station exists. Placed on the Montreux Record in 1990 due to “water shortage and an unbalanced grazing regime”. Additionally, the invasive growth of the grass Paspalum distichum has changed the ecological character of large areas of the site, reducing its suitability for certain waterbird species, notably the Siberian crane.
13Keshopur-Miani Community ReservePunjab26 September 201934The reserve is a mosaic of natural marshes, aquaculture ponds and agricultural wetlands maintained by rainfall runoff. It is heavily human influenced, and includes a series of managed fishponds and cultivated crops such lotus and chestnut. This management helps support a variety of flora, with 344 species of plants recorded in the area. In this way, the site is an example of wise use of a community-managed wetland, which provides food for people and supports local biodiversity. Threatened species present include the vulnerable common pochard (Aythya ferina) and the endangered spotted pond turtle (Geoclemys hamiltonii). The Department of Forest and Wildlife, Punjab, forms the management committee.
14Kolleru LakeAndhra Pradesh19 August 2002901A natural eutrophic lake, situated between the two major river basins of the Godavari and the Krishna, fed by two seasonal rivers and a number of drains and channels, which functions as a natural flood balancing reservoir between the deltas of the two rivers. It provides habitat for a number of resident and migratory birds, including declining numbers of the vulnerable grey pelican (Pelecanus philippensis), and sustains both culture and capture fisheries, agriculture and related occupations. Damage and losses due to flooding in monsoon seasons and partial drying out during summers, the results of inadequate management planning and action, are seen as areas for improvement.[6]
15Loktak LakeManipur23 March 1990266The largest freshwater lake in the north-eastern region of the country, which is famous for the phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition) floating over it. Keibul Lamjao, the only floating national park in the world, floats over it. It is located near MoirangBishnupur district. The etymology of Loktak is lok = “stream” and tak = “the end”. The Keibul Lamjao National Park, which is the last natural refuge of the endangered sangai or Manipur brow-antlered deer (Cervus eldi eldi), one of three subspecies of Eld’s deer, covering an area of 40 km2 (15 sq mi), is situated in the southeastern shores of this lake and is the largest of all the phumdis in the lake. This place is a global tourist destination. The Sendra tourist hub (a small hillock) is located at Moirang ~58 km from the heart of the city.
16Nalsarovar Bird SanctuaryGujarat24 September 2012123A natural freshwater lake (a relict sea) that is the largest natural wetland in the Thar Desert Biogeographic Pr ovince and represents a dynamic environment with salinity and depth varying depending on rainfall. The area is home to 210 species of birds, with an average 174,128 individuals recorded there during the winter and 50,000 in the summer. It is an important stopover site within the Central Asian Flyway, with globally threatened species such as the critically endangered sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius) and the vulnerable marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) stopping over at the site during migration, while the vulnerable sarus crane (Grus antigone) takes refuge there during summer when other water bodies are dry. The wetland is also a lifeline for a satellite population of the endangered Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur) which uses this area in the dry season. Local communities heavily rely on the lake as it provides them with a source of drinking water and water for irrigiation, as well as an important source of income from fishing for catla fish (Labeo catla) and rohu (Labeo rohita). An average of 75,000 tourists visit the wetland annually.
17Nandur MadhameshwarMaharashtra21 June 201914The site is a mosaic of lakes, marshes and riparian forest on the Deccan Plateau. Construction of the Nandur Madhameshwar Weir at the confluence of the Godavari and Kadva rivers helped create a thriving wetland: originally designed to overcome water shortages in the surrounding area, the site now also serves as a buffer against floodwaters and as a biodiversity hotspot. With 536 species recorded, its diverse habitats contrast with the surrounding semi-arid conditions caused by the rain shadow of the Western Ghats mountain range. The site hosts some of India’s most iconic species, such as the leopard and Indian sandalwood (Santalum album). It also provides sanctuary to critically endangered species including Deolali minnow (Parapsilorhynchus prateri), Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) and white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis). Invasive species including common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) threaten the site, along with the effects of urban development and water abstraction. The Office of the Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) manages the site.
18Nangal Wildlife SanctuaryPunjab26 September 20191Located in the Sivalik Hills of Punjab, the sanctuary supports abundant flora and fauna including threatened species, such as the endangered Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) and Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) and the vulnerable leopard (Panthera pardus). It occupies a human-made reservoir constructed as part of the Bhakra-Nangal Project in 1961. The site is of historic importance as the Indian and Chinese prime ministers formalized the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence there in 1954. More than half a million people downstream benefit from the reservoir as the flow of water is regulated, reducing the risks to both people and property from floods. The Department of Forest and Wildlife (Rupnagar Wildlife Division), Punjab is responsible for managing the sanctuary.
19Nawabganj Bird SanctuaryUttar Pradesh19 September 20192A shallow marshland 45 kilometres from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. Monsoon rains feed this diverse wetland while the Sarda Canal supplies additional water. The sanctuary supports recreation and tourism activities as well as local biodiversity. It is a haven for birds, with 25,000 waterbirds regularly recorded and 220 resident and migratory species documented. Among these are globally threatened species including the endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) and Pallas’s fish eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus) as well as the vulnerable lesser adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus) and woolly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus). Protection and afforestation measures have helped increase the overall diversity of wildlife, with golden jackal (Canis aureus) and jungle cat (Felis chaus) now present. The highly invasive common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) poses a threat, as does the removal of timber from the forests. State forest officers along with the Office of the Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) jointly manage the sanctuary.
20Parvati Aranga Bird SanctuaryUttar Pradesh2 December 20197A permanent freshwater environment consisting of two oxbow lakes. These wetlands are characteristic of Uttar Pradesh and offer exceptional habitats for waterbirds, providing both roosting and breeding sites with over 100,000 birds documented in annual counts. The sanctuary is a refuge for some of India’s threatened vulture species; the critically endangered white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Indian vulture (Gyps indicus), and the endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) have all been recorded. It is also critical in the maintenance of hydrological regimes, ensuring groundwater recharge and discharge. Meanwhile ancient temples around the lakes provide religious significance and encourage tourism. Invasive species such as the common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) along with the development of roads and railways present significant threats. The Uttar Pradesh divisional forest officer and chief conservator of forests along with sanctuary officers share management duties.
21Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird SanctuaryTamil Nadu19 August 2002385A coastal area consisting of shallow waters, shores, and long sand bars, intertidal flats and intertidal forests, chiefly mangrove, and seasonal, often-saline lagoons, as well as human-made salt exploitation sites. Some 257 species of birds have been recorded, 119 of them waterbirds, including the vulnerable species spoon-billed sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea) and grey pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) and some 30,000 greater and lesser flamingos. The site serves as the breeding ground or nursery for many commercially important species of fish, as well as for prawns and crabs. Some 35,000 fishermen and agriculturalists support their families around the borders of the sanctuary. Illegal collection of firewood and forest produce such as fruits (gathered by lopping off tree branches), the spread of Chilean mesquite (Prosopis chilensis), increasingly brackish groundwater caused by expansion of the historical salt works, and decreasing inflow of freshwater are all seen as potential causes for concern. Visitors come to the site both for recreation and for pilgrimage, as it is associated with Lord Rama.
22Pong Dam LakeHimachal Pradesh19 August 2002156.62A water storage reservoir created in 1975 on the Beas River in the low foothills of the Himalayas on the northern edge of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The Ramsar Site Information Sheet notes that “at a time when wetlands in northern India are getting reduced due to extensive drainage and reclamation, the avian habitats formed by the creation of the Pong Dam assume a great significance” – given the site’s location on the trans-Himalayan flyway, more than 220 bird species have been identified, with 54 species of waterfowl. Hydrological values include monsoon-season flood prevention, both in the surroundings and downstream due to water regulation, groundwater recharge, silt trapping and prevention of soil erosion; electricity is generated, and irrigation water is being channeled to fertile areas of the deserts of Punjab and Rajasthan. Low-yield subsistence fishing existed prior to impoundment, but since, a lucrative fishery has grown up, with 27 fish species and a yield increasing each year – some 1800 fishermen now have direct employment and 1000 families benefit indirectly. A nature conservation education centre is found on the island of Ransar or Ramsar [sic]. Recent management strategies have shifted away from law enforcement and use restrictions towards more participatory approaches and community awareness, and the site is well suited to community-based ecotourism.
23Renuka LakeHimachal Pradesh8 November 20050.2A natural wetland with freshwater springs and inland subterranean karst formations, fed by a small stream flowing from the lower Himalayas out to the Giri river. The lake is home to at least 443 species of fauna and 19 species of fish representative of lake ecosystems like PuntiusLabeoRasbora and Channa. Prominent vegetation ranges from dry deciduous plants like Shorea robustaTerminalia ellipticaDalbergia sissoo to aquatic plants. There are 103 species of birds of which 66 are resident, e.g. crimson-breasted barbetsmynasbulbulspheasantsegretsheronsmallards and lapwings. Among ungulates, sambarbarking deer and ghorals are also abundant in the area. The lake has high religious significance and is named after Renuka, the mother of Hindu sage Parshuram, and is thus visited by thousands of pilgrims and tourists. Conservation measures so far include community awareness, and prevention of silt influx from eroded slopes and 50 ha of planting in the catchment. The site is managed by the Shimla Forest Department, Himachal Pradesh
24Ropar WetlandPunjab22 January 200213.65A humanmade wetland of lake and river formed by the 1952 construction of a barrage for diversion of water from the Sutlej River for drinking and irrigation. The site is an important breeding place for the nationally protected smooth-coated otterhog deersambar, several reptiles, and the endangered Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata). Some 35 species of fish play an important role in the food chain, and about 150 species of local and migratory birds are supported. Local fisheries are economically significant, and wheat, rice, sugar cane, and sorghum are cultivated in the surrounding area. Deforested local hills leading to siltation, and increasing industrialization causing an inflow of pollutants, are potential threats, and invasive weeds are a further cause for concern. Nature lovers, birdwatchers, swimmers and boaters visit the site in considerable numbers.[7]
25Rudrasagar LakeTripura8 November 20052.4A lowland sedimentation reservoir in the northeast hills, fed by three perennial streams discharging to the Gomti River. The lake is abundant in commercially important freshwater fish genera like BotiaNotopterusChitalaMystus and the species Ompok pabdaLabeo bata, and freshwater scampi, with annual production of 26 metric tons, and an ideal habitat for IUCN Red Listed three-striped roofed turtle (Batagur dhongoka). Owing to high rainfall (2500 mm) and downstream topography, the wetland is regularly flooded with 4-5 times annual peak, assisting in groundwater recharge. Aquatic weeds are composed of rare marginal-floating-emergent-submerged weeds. Lands are owned by the state with perennial water areas leased out to the subsistence fishermens’ cooperative, and surrounding seasonal waterbodies are cultivated for paddy. The main threats are increasing silt loads due to deforestation, expansion of agricultural land and intensive farming, and land conversion for population pressure. Vijayadashami, one of the most important Hindu festivals with various sports events, attracts at least 50,000 tourists and devotees every year.
26Saman Bird SanctuaryUttar Pradesh2 December 20195A seasonal oxbow lake on the Ganges floodplain. It is heavily reliant on the arrival of the south-westerly monsoon in July and August, which provides the vast majority of annual rainfall. The sanctuary regularly provides refuge to over 50,000 waterbirds (187 species have been recorded) and is particularly important as a wintering site for many migrants including the greylag goose (Anser anser), with over 1% of the South Asian population present during winter. Vulnerable species including the sarus crane (Grus antigone) and greater spotted eagle (Aquila clanga) are also found. Ecosystem services provided include supply of fresh water for agriculture, as well as recreation and nature-based tourism based around the huge diversity of birds. Settlement encroachment and salinization present threats. The Office of the Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) oversees the site’s management.
27Samaspur Bird SanctuaryUttar Pradesh3 October 20198A perennial lowland marsh typical of the Indo-Gangetic Plain in Raebareli district. Its six connected lakes are heavily relevant on monsoon rains. Annual counts regularly find more than 75,000 birds present, with over 250 resident and migrant species documented. The sanctuary harbours threatened species such as the endangered Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) and Pallas’s fish eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), and more than 1% of the South Asian population of the vulnerable common pochard (Aythya ferina). At least 46 freshwater fish species use the wetland, with some migrating in from nearby rivers during monsoon floods. The site provides food products and agricultural fodder, as well as maintaining biodiversity. However, invasive species threaten its ecological character, with over 40% of documented floral species being exotic. The Office of the Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and state forest officers undertake joint management of the sanctuary.
28Sambhar LakeRajasthan23 March 1990240India’s largest inland salt lake, it is a key wintering area for tens of thousands of flamingos and other birds that migrate from northern Asia. The specialized algae and bacteria growing in the lake provide striking water colours and support the lake ecology that, in turn, sustains the migrating waterfowl. There is other wildlife in the nearby forests, where nilgai move freely along with deer and foxes.
29Sandi Bird SanctuaryUttar Pradesh26 September 20193A freshwater marsh in the Hardoi district, the wetland is typical of the Indo-Gangetic Plain and receives most of its water from monsoon rains. Rich in aquatic plants, the site provides a productive habitat for waterfowl with over 40,000 individuals counted in 2018. It is home to over 1% of the South Asian populations of common teal (Anas crecca), red-crested pochard (Netta rufina) and ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca), while the vulnerable sarus crane (Grus antigone) has a population of 200 individuals within the sanctuary. These figures justify its designation as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. The wetland is a popular recreational and tourism destination and supports farmers as a source of livestock fodder. Drought presents a thre at; the sanctuary dried out leading to a subsequent collapse in waterbird populations from 2014 to 2015. The Office of the Conservator of Forests manages the site in conjunction with local forest and wildlife officers.
30Sarsai Nawar JheelUttar Pradesh19 September 20192A permanent marsh in the Etawah district, this typical wetland of the Indo-Gangetic Plain is fed by the southwest monsoon rains. It is an example of co-habitation of humans and wildlife; farming practices across most of the site play important roles in sustaining the waterbird habitats. A particular beneficiary is the vulnerable sarus crane (Grus antigone), with a population of 400 individuals making up the largest flock in the region. The site’s name is derived from this large non-migratory crane. Other threatened species present include the critically endangered white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and endangered woolly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus). The wetland is also a site of spiritual and religious significance with the nearby Hajari Mahadev Temple visited by thousands of pilgrims each year. Droughts along with drainage have the potential to threaten the site’s ecological character. It is recognized by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area.
31Sasthamkotta LakeKerala19 August 20023.73Situated in Kollam district, it is the largest freshwater lake in Kerala. The Kallada River had a unique replenishing system through a bar of paddy field which has now disappeared due to indiscriminate clay and sand mining. The lake is now depleting due to the destruction of its replenishing mechanism.
32Sundarban WetlandWest Bengal1 February 20194230Located within the largest mangrove forest in the world, it encompasses hundreds of islands and a maze of rivers, rivulets and creeks in the delta of the rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra on the Bay of Bengal. The Indian Sundarban, covering the south-westernmost part of the delta, constitutes over 60% of the country’s total mangrove forest and includes 90% of Indian mangrove species. The mangrove forests protect the hinterland from storms, cyclones, tidal surges, and the seepage and intrusion of saltwater inland and into waterways. They serve as nurseries to shellfish and finfish and sustain the fisheries of the entire eastern coast.
33Surinsar-Mansar LakesJammu and Kashmir8 November 20053.5A freshwater composite lake in semi-arid Jammu Region, adjoining the Jhelum Basin with catchment of sandy conglomeratic soil, boulders and pebbles. Surinsar is rain-fed without permanent discharge, and Mansar is primarily fed by surface run-off and partially by mineralised water through paddy fields, with inflow increasing in rainy season. The lake supports CITES and IUCN Red Listed Indian flapshell turtle (Lissemys punctata), Indian softshell turtle (Aspideretes gangeticus) and Mansariella lacustris. This composite lake is high in micronutrients for which it is an attractive habitat, breeding and nursery ground for migratory waterfowl like the Eurasian coot (Fulica atra), common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), black-necked grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), tufted duck (Aythya fuligula), and various Anas species. The site is socially and culturally very important with many temples owing to its mythical origin from the Mahabharata period. Although the lakes support variety of fishes, fishing is discouraged for religious reasons. The main threats are increasing visitors, agricultural runoff, bathing and cremation rituals. Conservation is focused on raising awareness.[8]
34TsomoririLadakh19 August 2002120A freshwater to brackish lake lying at 4,595 m above sea level, with wet meadows and borax-laden wetlands along the shores. The site is said to represent the only breeding ground outside of China for one of the most endangered cranes, the black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis), and the only breeding ground for bar-headed geese in India. The great Tibetan sheep or argali (Ovis ammon hodgsoni) and Tibetan wild ass (Equus kiang) are endemic to the Tibetan Plateau, of which the Changtang is the westernmost part. The barley fields at Karzok have been described as the highest cultivated land in the world. With no outflow, evaporation in the arid steppe conditions causes varying levels of salinity. Ancient trade routes and now major trekking routes pass the site. The 400-year-old Korzok Monastery attr acts many tourists, and the wetland is considered sacred by local Buddhist communities and the water is not used by them. The local community dedicated Tsomoriri as a WWF “Sacred Gift for a Living Planet” in recognition of WWF-India‘s work there. The rapidly growing attraction of the recently opened area to Western tourists (currently 2,500 per summer) as an “unspoilt destination” with pristine high desert landscapes and lively cultural traditions brings great promise but also potential threats to the ecosystem.
35Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch)Uttar Pradesh8 November 2005265.9A shallow river stretch of the great Ganges with intermittent small stretches of deep-water pools and reservoirs upstream from barrages. The river provides habitat for the IUCN Red Listed Ganges river dolphingharial, crocodile, six species of turtles, otters, 82 species of fish and more than hundred species of birds. Major plant species, some of which are said to have medicinal value, include Dalbergia sissooSaraca indicaEucalyptus globulusFicus benghalensisDendrocalamus strictusTectona grandisAzadirachta indica and aquatic Eichhornia. This river stretch has religious importance for thousands of Hindu pilgrims and is used for cremation and holy baths for spiritual purification. Major threats are sewage discharge, agricultural runoff, and intensive fishing. Conservation activities carried out are planting to prevent bank erosion, training on organic farming, and lobbying to ban commercial fishing.
36Vembanad-Kol WetlandKerala19 August 20021512.5It is the largest lake of Kerala, spanning across AlappuzhaKottayam and Ernakulam districts. Famous tourist locations like Alappuzha and Kumarakom, known for houseboats are here. The mouths of the Pamba and Achankovil rivers in Vembanad forms part of the Kuttanad. It is below sea level and is famous for exotic fish varieties and paddy fields that are below sea level.
37Wular LakeJammu and Kashmir23 March 1990189The largest freshwater lake in India with extensive marshes of emergent and floating vegetation, particularly water chestnut, that provide an important source of revenue for the state government and fodder for domestic livestock. The lake supports an important fishing industry and is a valuable source of water for irrigation and domestic use. The area is important for wintering, staging and breeding birds. Human activities include rice cultivation and tree farming.
38Asan BarrageUttarakhand21 July 20204.44 stretchThe Asan Conservation Reserve is a 444-hectare stretch of the Asan River running down to its confluence with the Yamuna River in Dehradun district. The damming of the river by the Asan Barrage in 1967 resulted in siltation above the dam wall, which helped to create some of the site’s bird-friendly habitats. These habitats support 330 species of birds including the critically endangered red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri). More than 1% of the populations of two waterbird species have been recorded here, these being red-crested pochard (Netta rufina) and ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea). There are also 49 fish species, one of these being the endangered Putitor mahseer (Tor putitora). Fish use the site for feeding, migration and spawning. As well as this support for biodiversity and the hydro-electricity production of the barrage, the site’s role in maintaining hydrological regimes is important.
39Kanwar Taal or Kabar Taal LakeBiharBegusarai21 July 202026.2Also known as Kanwar Jheel, it covers 2,620 hectares of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The site is one of 18 wetlands within an extensive floodplain complex; it floods during the monsoon season to a depth of 1.5 metres. This absorption of floodwaters is a vital service in Bihar where 70% of the land is vulnerable to inundation. During the dry season, areas of marshland dry out and are used for agriculture. Significant biodiversity is present, with 165 plant species and 394 animal species recorded, including 221 bird species. The wetland is an important stopover along the Central Asian Flyway, with 58 migratory waterbirds using it to rest and refuel. It is also a valuable site for fish biodiversity with over 50 species documented. Five critically endangered species inhabit the site, including three vultures – the red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) – and two waterbirds, the sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarious) and Baer’s pochard (Aythya baeri). Major threats to the site include water management activities such as drainage, water abstraction, damming and canalization.
40Sur SarovarUttar PradeshAgra district13 November 20204.31Originally created to supply water to the city of Agra in the summer, the wetland soon became an important and rich ecosystem. The site’s patchwork of habitat types provides refuge to resident and migratory birds, and more than 60 species of fish. Threatened species include the vulnerable greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga), sarus crane (Grus antigone), and wallago catfish (Wallago attu. The site is important for bird species that migrate on the Central Asian Flyway, with over 30,000 waterbirds known to visit the reservoir annually. Over 1% of the South Asian regional population of the greylag goose (Anser anser) is present.
41Lonar LakeMaharashtraBuldhana district13 November 20204.27An endorheic or closed basin, almost circular in shape, formed by a meteorite impact some 50,000 years ago, onto the basalt bedrock. It is one of the four known, hyper-velocity, impact craters in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth. It is high in salinity and alkalinity, as the lack of an outflow leads to a concentration of minerals as the lake water evaporates. Fauna includes the vulnerable Asian woollyneck (Ciconia episcopus) and common pochard (Aythya ferina) and the grey wolf (Canis lupus). It is a National Geological Monument recognized by the Geological Survey of India (GSI). It is the only crater lake in the country formed by the meteorite impact. It was identified as a unique geographical site by a British officer C. J. E. Alexander in 1823. Hemadpanti temples are located at the periphery of the lake. Recently, the color of Lonar lake water had turned pink due to a large presence of the salt-loving “haloarchaea” microbes. Haloarchaea or halophilic archaea is a bacteria culture that produces pink pigment and is found in water saturated with salt.
42Tso KarLadakhLeh district17 November 202095.77It is a high-altitude wetland complex, found at more than 4,500 metres above sea level in the Changthang region of Ladakh. It includes two connected lakes, the freshwater Startsapuk Tso and the larger hypersaline Tso Kar. The name Tso Kar refers to the white salt efflorescence on the margins of the lake caused by the evaporation of the saline waters. It is also an important stopover ground for migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway. The primary source of lakes is glacial meltwater. It is one of the most important breeding areas in India for the black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis). Some of the species found here are endangered saker falcon (Falco cherrug) and Asiatic wild dog or dhole (Cuon alpinus laniger), and the vulnerable snow leopard (Panthera uncia).

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