Context: Asan Conservation Reserve has become Uttarakhand’s first Ramsar site, making it a ‘Wetland of International Importance’, announced the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. 

More on the news:

  • The conservation Reserve cleared five out of the nine criteria needed to be declared as a Ramsar site and get identified as a Wetland of International Importance.
  • Asan Conservation Reserve cleared the category on species and ecological communities, one on water-birds and another on fish.
  • With this inclusion, the number of Ramsar sites in India goes up to 38, which is the highest in South Asia.

Asan Conservation Reserve

  • It is spread across a 4.44 sq km area in Dehradun district on the banks of the Yamuna river.
  • Species found: Many endangered birds are found here and some even migrate to the Reserve, making it an ecologically important site.
    • Asan receives about 40 migratory species, which includes Rudy Shelduck, Common coot, Gadwall, Kingfisher, Indian cormorant, Baer’s pochard, Northern pintail, Bar-headed goose

Ramsar Convention:

  • It is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. 
  • It was signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran and came into force in 1975.
  • In India, the convention entered into force on 1 February 1982.
  • It has released its maiden global report named “Global Wetland Outlook”.

Importance of Being a Ramsar Site

  • They are recognized as being of significant value for humanity as a whole, not just for the concerned countries.
  • The inclusion in the list embodies the government’s commitment to take the steps necessary to ensure that its ecological character is maintained
  • The selection is made on the basis of various criteria defined under the convention.
  • Wetlands should be selected on account of their international significance in terms of ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology.

Montreux Record

  • It is maintained as a part of the Ramsar List.
  • It is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
  • Two wetlands from India, namely Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur) feature in the Montreux Record.

State of Wetlands in India

  • A petition filed in Supreme Court states reveals that India has over 7 lakh wetlands covering 1.6 crore hectares or 4.5% of India’s area 
  • The Court extended protection to 2,01,503 of these under Rule 4 of the 2010 Rules, and ordered authorities to notify sites.
  •  But not a single wetland has been notified under domestic laws.
  • The Supreme Court too  expressed concern over the disappearance of wetlands, and observed, “If there are no wetlands left, it will affect agriculture and several other things. It is a very, very important issue.”
  • Wetlands are regulated under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.

Other newly inducted Ramsar sites in India :


Ramsar Sites



Nandur Madhameshwar

  • Located in Nashik District. It houses a bird sanctuary. 
  • It is also known as the Bharatpur of Maharashtra. 



  • It lies in the middle of the Ravi and Beas rivers, and just 12 km away from the Indo-Pak border.
  • Being the first-ever notified community reserve of India, it has the mechanism of joint management of locals and forest department.
  • Participatory management has resulted in  better conservation and a role model for others.
  • It has emerged as a favorable home  for migratory birds.  

Beas Conservation Reserve 

  • It is a 185-km stretch starting from the Harike headworks to Talwara Conservation Reserve.
  • It is widely known for successful reintroduction of Gharials.


  • It is dependent on Sutlej river for its sustenance. 
  • It is home to numerous species of both residents as well as migratory birds from the trans-Himalayan region. 
  • Among those are the red jungle fowl, large Indian parakeet, Indian cuckoo, wood shrike, yellow-eyed babbler and crested bunting. 
  • It also houses threatened species like the Indian pangolin.

Uttar Pradesh


  • The Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary is located in the Unnao District. 
  • The sanctuary welcomes many international and national migratory birds. 
  • Among those are Garganey Teal, Mallard, Purple Moorhen, Little Grebe, Spoonbill Duck, Red Wattled Lapwing, Wigon.

Parvati Agra

  • It is located near Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Parvati and Arga are two connected  rain-fed lakes which are 1.5 km apart.
  •  It is a potential ecotourism site in terms of providing facilities of bird conservation awareness.


  • Saman Bird Sanctuary is located in Bhogav, near Agra.
  • It was notified in 1990 with an objective to protect the large population of Cranes in the area.
  • Among the storks it houses include Painted Stork, Block-necked Stork, Open-billed Stork and Woolly-necked Stork.


  • It is located in Raebareli district.
  • Samaspur bird sanctuary is exclusively known for the preservation of bird species including various migratory birds.
  • It houses more than 250 species of birds and remains a favourite bird destination.
  • Vulture, Kingfishers, Spot Bill Teel common and Teel Whistling etc. are permanent residents of this sanctuary.


  • Situated in Hardoi district.
  • Bombay natural history society has listed this sanctuary as an "important bird area". 

Sarsai Nawar

  • It  is a small unprotected wetland, in Etawah District of Uttar Pradesh. 
  • It comprises two small lakes that attract Sarus Cranes, White Ibis and other water birds in large numbers. 
  • It houses a large population of the threatened species of Sarus Cranes which are the world's tallest flying birds. 

Image Source: HT