Ladakh’s Tso Kar wetland advanced 42nd Ramsar web site

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24

One more wetland in India has been added to the list of recognised sites of international importance under the treaty of Ramsar Convention, taking the number of such wetlands in the country to 42, the highest in South Asia.

Ecology preservation

  • The Ramsar Convention, signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, is one of the oldest accords for preserving wetlands.
  • Wetlands provide a range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water and fibre.

The latest site to be added to the list is a high-altitude wetland complex of two connected lakes, Startsapuk Tso and Tso Kar, in Ladakh. Union Environment Prakash Javadekar said, “Happy to share that high-altitude wetland complex in Changthang region of Ladakh is recognised as wetland of international importance. The complex is a notable example of two connected lakes, the freshwater Startsapuk Tso and the hypersaline Tso Kar. Now, India has 42 Ramsar sites.”

Last month, two wetlands — the Lonar lake in Maharashtra and Sur Sarovar, also known as Keetham lake, in Agra — were added to the list of Ramsar sites. The Tso Kar Basin is a high-altitude wetland complex, consisting of two principal waterbodies, Startsapuk Tso, a freshwater lake of about 438 hectares to the south, and Tso Kar itself, a hyper-saline lake of 1,800 hectares to the north, situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh.

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, according to a statement issued by the ministry.

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