Recently, An endangered Fishing Cat recorded in the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary in East Godavari district.
In 2002, Asia’s freshwater lake, Kolleru in Andhra Pradesh, was designated as Ramsar site — a wetland of international importance. Since then, the State appears to have not put any effort for getting Ramsar status for any of its other wetlands despite being blessed with wetlands that officially meet the Ramsar Convention’s (Iran-1971) nine criteria.
About Godavari estuary
- Godavari estuary is a case of negligence by the State to claim its international importance.
- The estuary, including 235.70 sq. km Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS), is one of the rarest eco-regions on the earth. It is also home to India’s second-largest mangrove cover after the Sundarbans. The CWS is inhabited by 115 endangered fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus), Olive Ridley turtles, Indian smooth-coated otter, and saltwater crocodiles.
- According to the UNDP-GEF project (2019), Mainstreaming Coastal and Marine Biodiversity into Production Sectors in the East Godavari River Estuarine Ecosystem, over 43,718 birds of 272 species have been recorded in the estuary.
- The Ramsar Convention criterion mandates that a wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 20,000 or more water birds.
- The CWS itself meets all the nine-criteria of the Ramsar Convention to be declared as ‘wetland of international importance.
- According to highly-placed sources in the Forest Department, prior to 2015, the Forest Department had proposed to the MoEFCC for recommending CWS as ‘Ramsar site’ under the banner of ‘EGREE Foundation’.
- The EGREE Foundation was formed with various stakeholders to execute the UNDP-GEF project in which government is the leading stakeholder in the project.
About Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary
- It is the second largest stretch of mangrove forests in India with 24 mangrove tree species and more than 120 bird species.
- It is home to the critically endangered white-backed vulture and the long billed vulture.
- The sanctuary is a part of the Godavari estuary and has extensive mangrove and dry deciduous tropical forest.
- About half of the area is the backwater.
Back to Basics
What are the nine criteria laid out by Ramsar Convention?
- Criterion 1: “it contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.”
- Criterion 2: “it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.”
- Criterion 3: “it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.”
- Criterion 4: “it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.”
- Criterion 5: “it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds.”
- Criterion 6: “it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.”
- Criterion 7: “it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity.”
- Criterion 8: “it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.”
- Criterion 9: “it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of wetland-dependent non-avian animal species.”
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