Sur Sarovor in Agra district of Uttar Pradesh and the Lonar in Buldhana district of Maharashtra are the recent additions to the List of Wetlands of International Importance under Ramsar Convention. This takes the count of Indian Ramsar Sites to 41, the highest in South Asia.
Sur Sarovar is a pentagonal human-made reservoir, also known as Keetham and supports many species of migratory birds and reptiles. The wetland is also a source of water to Mathura Oil Refinery.
Lonar is a unique addition to the Ramsar List, as it owes its formation to meteorite collision, hence the name – “crater lake”. The springs which feed the wetland are a source of fresh water for the diverse plant and animal life present around the site. There are 160 species of birds including the vulnerable Asian Woolly Neck (Ciconia episcopus) and Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), 46 species of reptiles, and 12 species of mammals including the iconic grey wolf (Canis lupus).
By designating these wetlands to the Ramsar List, the Government of India has reaffirmed its commitment to wise use and maintenance of ecological character. Wetlands International South Asia has continued to support the site designation process, and implementing management for wise use outcomes.