Six more Tamil Nadu wetlands declared as Ramsar sites; state’s tally now 10

Six more wetlands from Tamil Nadu have been recognised as Wetlands of International Importance, i.e., Ramsar sites, the Union Environment Ministry said on Wednesday. This now takes the state’s tally to 10 Ramsar sites.

The six wetlands in Tamil Nadu are Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, Vembannur Wetland Complex, Vellode, Vedanthangal, and Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuaries.

Chief Minister M K Stalin said Wednesday, “Extremely happy that 6 more wetlands in #TamilNadu (Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, Vembannur Wetland Complex, Vellode, Vedanthangal & Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuaries) got the Ramsar site recognition today.”

“This takes the Ramsar recognition tally of Tamil Nadu to 10. This international recognition is a matter of great pride and goes hand in hand with Tamil Nadu Wetland Mission. I congratulate TN Forest Department on this sterling achievement,” Stalin added in a tweeted.

Tamil Nadu Additional Chief Secretary Supriya Sahu said, “Congratulations Tamil Nadu 🎉 We just added 6 more Ramsar sites to our list of 4, reaching 1st position in India alongside UP with a total of 10 Ramsar sites. Kudos to the entire team #TNForest.”

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the convention was signed in 1971.

India is aiming at getting Ramsar tags for 75 of its wetlands on the 75th year of Independence — so far, 64 sites have been tagged, covering an area of 12,50,361 ha.

A week earlier, three wetlands including the Pallikaranai Marshlands in Chennai, Karikili Bird Sanctuary in Chengalpattu district and Pichavaram Mangrove in Cuddalore district were recognised as Wetlands of International Importance.

About the six Tamil Nadu wetlands recognised as Ramsar sites:

Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary is a man-made wetland which covers an area of 72.04 hectares. It is situated in Nanguneri Taluk of Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu and is the largest reserve for breeding resident and migratory water birds in South India.

Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve  is located on the southeastern coastline and is a unique marine environment rich in biodiversity. This is the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in South and South-East Asia.

Vembannur Wetland Complex  is a man-made inland tank which forms the southernmost tip of peninsular India. This wetland forms part of the Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and hence part of the BirdLife International Data Zone. About 250 species of birds have been recorded in the district.

Vellode Bird Sanctuary is located in the Vadamugam Vellode village in Tamil Nadu’s Erode district. Locally known as Periyakulam Yeri, it is one of the 141 prioritised wetlands in the state.

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is one of the oldest bird-protected areas in Chengalpattu district of Tamil Nadu. This freshwater wetland is a people-protected waterbird area, the history of which goes back centuries. Locals have been protecting this heronry and in return benefitting from the manure-rich water from the lake.

Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuary is located in the Tiruthuraipoondi taluk of Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu. It is an important staging and breeding ground for several species of waterbirds.

— With PTI inputs

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