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Ladakh’s Tso Kar Wetland Complex

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    25th Dec, 2020


In a latest development, India has added Tso Kar Wetland Complex in Ladakh as its 42nd Ramsar site, which is a second one in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.

About Ladakh’s Tso Kar Wetland Complex

  • The Tso Kar Basin is a high-altitude wetland complex.
  • Situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh, it consists of two principal waterbodies,
    • Startsapuk Tso, a freshwater lake to the south
    • Tso Kar itself, a hypersaline lake to the north
  • It is called Tso Kar, meaning white lake, because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins due to the evaporation of highly saline water.
  • The Tso Kar Basin is an A1 Category Important Bird Area (IBA) as per Bird Life International and a key staging site in the Central Asian Flyway.

What is about the fauna of the region?

  • The site is also one of the most important breeding areas of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) in India.
  • This IBA is also the major breeding area for Great Crested Grebe (Podicepscristatus), Bar-headed Geese (Anserindicus), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadornaferruginea), Brown-headed Gull (Larusbrunnicephalus), Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadriusmongolus) and many other species.

Significance of Wetlands

  • 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 a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater.

What is the aim of the Ramsar List?

A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The Convention on Wetlands, or the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO, which came into force in 1975.

  • To develop and maintain an international network of wetlands
  • To help in conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life
  • To maintain ecosystem components, processes and benefits

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