The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary near Jamnagar in Gujarat and Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh have been listed as Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention. With this, the total number of Ramsar sites in India goes up to 49. Khijadiya has become the fourth wetland of Gujarat to get the Ramsar tag. Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Thol Wildlife Sanctuary and Wadhwana wetland are the other Ramsar sites in the state. The last two were included in April last year.
About the Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary:
Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary (Ramsar site No. 2464), a freshwater wetland near the coast of the Gulf of Kutch, was formed following the creation of a bund (dike) in 1920 by the then ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Nawanagar to protect farmlands from saltwater ingress. The sanctuary is now part of Marine National Park, Jamnagar, the first marine national park in the country.
About the Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary:
On the other hand, Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary (site no. 2465), a freshwater marsh in the Sant Kabir Nagar district, is the largest natural floodplain wetland of eastern Uttar Pradesh. The Sanctuary was established in 1980 and is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972); an “eco-sensitive zone” extends up to a kilometre around its boundary.