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Haryana CM to celebrate World Wetlands Day at Sultanpur National Park

IANS | February 01, 2022 12:00 PM

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar will participate in the national-level World Wetlands Day being celebrated on February 2 at the Sultanpur National Park in Gurugram district thatattracts nearly 50,000 migratory birds mainly from Eurasia in the winter annually.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, will be the chief guest on the occasion, an official spokesperson statement said on Tuesday.

The celebrations of the World Wetlands Day this year in Haryana coincides with the recent declaration of the Sultanpur National Park and the Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary in Jhajjar as Ramsar Sites (wetlands of international importance).

The spokesperson said the Sultanpur National Park and the Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary were declared as Ramsar sites in May 2021.

With this, Haryana state has come onto the map of wetlands having international significance.

The total number of Ramsar sites in India at present is 47. Two more wetlands namely the Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat and the Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh will be brought that day within the purview of Ramsar sites, taking the Ramsar wetlands number in India to 49.

The Sultanpur National Park, spread over 350 acres, is located at Sultanpur village on the Gurugram-Jhajjar highway, some 15 km from Gurugram and 50 km from the national capital.

The avifauna-rich habitat of Sultanpur was discovered by Peter Jackson who visited the park along with wildlife experts in March 1970.

The Sultanpur National Park was earlier notified as wildlife sanctuary on April 2, 1971. The status of the park was upgraded to a national park on July 5, 1991.

In winter, Sultanpur provides a picturesque panorama of migratory birds such as the Sarus crane, Demoiselle crane, northern pintail, northern shoveller, red-crested pochard, waders, Graylag goose, gadwall, Eurasian wigeon, the black-tailed godwit, among others.

The park is also home to the cobra, monitor lizard, hedgehog, Indian hare, yellow monitor lizard, porcupine, jackal and the blue bull. The park falls on Asian Flyway and hence, a number of birds on their forward and backward journey rest here, say ornithologists.

The Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary is a freshwater lake, also the largest in Haryana is located in Jhajjar district, which is about 15 km from Jhajjar town.

Covering an area of little over 1,000 acres, it was notified as a wildlife sanctuary on July 5, 1985. The lake forms an important part of the ecological corridor along the route of the Sahibi river which traverses from Aravalli hills in Rajasthan to the Yamuna via Masani Barrage.

More than 80 species of migratory and more than a hundred resident species have been recorded, besides over 40,000 migratory birds in Bhindawas every winter.

The spokesperson said a series of webinars related to various aspects of wetlands are being organized coinciding with the wetlands day celebrations.

An exercise on the bird count in Haryana is also going on in various parts covering the entire state.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has celebrated Iconic Week in Sultanpur coinciding with celebrating 75 years of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. A number of programmes related to creating awareness about wetlands were organized at that time.

The wetlands are ecologically diverse ecosystems harbouring about 40 per cent of biodiversity. They absorb water, control floods, purify water and recharge the water table.

They store about one-third of global carbon and regulate climate change. However, if not protected, they can be the source of carbon emission as well.

The wetlands are the most productive systems and feed millions of people besides providing employment to others.


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