Ladakh’s Tso Kar Wetland Complex has been recognised as a wetland of international importance, becoming India’s 42nd Ramsar site. This is the second Ramsar site in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
The high-altitude wetland complex in Changthang region of Ladakh has been recognized as a wetland of international importance.The complex is a notable example of two connected lakes, the freshwater Startsapuk Tso and the hypersaline Tso Kar. With this, India now has 42 Ramsar sites
•The Tso Kar Basin is a high-altitude wetland complex, which comprises two principal waterbodies- Startsapuk Tso and Tso Kar situated in Ladakh’s Changthang region.
•Startsapuk Tso is a freshwater lake and Tso Kar is a hypersaline lake .
•The TSO Kar name means white lake and it was given because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins of the wetlands due to the evaporation of highly saline water.
Significance of Tso Kar Basin:
The TSO Kar basin is categorised as A1 Category Important Bird Area (IBA) as per the Bird Life International and is also a key staging site in the Central Asian Flyway.
The basin is one of the most important breeding areas of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) in India.
It is also a major breeding area for the Bar-headed Geese (Anserindicus), Great Crested Grebe (Podicepscristatus), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadornaferruginea), Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadriusmongolus) and Brown-headed Gull (Larusbrunnicephalus) and many other species.
Last month, two wetlands — the Lonar lake in Maharashtra and Sur Sarovar, also known as Keetham lake, in Agra — were added to the list of Ramsar sites. Before that, Kabartal in Bihar’s Begusarai district was recognised as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. It was the first such site in the state to figure in the list, according to the Union Environment Ministry. Tso Kar Wetland Complex has been recognised as a wetland of international importance, becoming India’s 42nd Ramsar site
The convention, signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, is one of the oldest inter-governmental accords for preserving the ecological character of wetlands. Also known as the Convention on Wetlands, it aims to develop a global network of wetlands for the conservation of biological diversity and for sustaining human life.
Wetlands provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation. They are, in fact, a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater.
Over 170 countries are party to the Ramsar Convention and over 2,000 designated sites covering over 20 crore hectares have been recognised under it.