Conservation and Management of Wetland Birds in Rajasthan: Perspectives and Challenges

  • Lalitha Vijayan
  • V. S. Vijayan


The authors have presented challenges and strategies for wetland conservation in the state of Rajasthan. With only 10.4% area of India, Rajasthan harbours 42% of a total of 1,225 species of birds. Wetland avifauna is also very profound such that 40% of the country’s 325 wetland bird species were recorded during a survey of 47 major wetlands outside the protected areas of the state in 2002. Among these wetlands, 24 had one or more threatened bird species and four wetlands had three threatened species each. In all, 624 birds of six Endangered species and 7,713 birds of seven Near Threatened species were sighted. Prioritization of wetlands presented in the text categorizes wetlands as eight internationally important and qualified to be declared as Ramsar Sites, nine nationally important and the rest locally significant wetlands. Recently, 24 sites have been identified as Important Bird Areas (IBAs), including 10 wetlands, some of which are already protected. The loss of 31% wetlands has been alarming in a span of ten years in 13 districts of Rajasthan, which is expected to increase with the rapid pace of development and climate change. Economic value of wetlands has also been mentioned. Conservation threats, namely, habitat loss and degradation and contamination by pesticides and heavy metals, are also highlighted in this chapter. This chapter highlights the need for formulation of a National Wetland Conservation and Sustainable Use Strategy and Action Plan by bringing together the wetland authorities at national, state and village levels comprising members from among all the key stakeholders.


Ecosystem Service Water Hyacinth Ramsar Convention Ramsar Site Wetland Bird 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Several people and institutions helped us in various ways throughout our study on the wetland ecosystem of Keoladeo National Park Bharatpur (1982–1991) and later on the inland wetlands of Rajasthan; the former was funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to the Bombay Natural History Society and the latter by UNDP through MoEF, Government of India, to Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) as a part of the project on inland wetlands of India. The Department of Space provided support for the satellite data analysis, and Narendra Prasad was the nodal person at SACON for coordinating the work. Mr. Manoj Kulshreshta coordinated the field data collection in the state through a network of people on behalf of the Bombay Natural History Society. We are grateful to the staff of SACON for their cooperation. We thank Narendra Prasad and M.A. Raja Mamannan for the preparation of the map. We acknowledge the support and input provided by several other people during this study.


  1. 1.
    Dugan PJ (1988) The importance of rural communities in wetlands conservation and development. In: Hook DD et al (eds) The ecology and management of wetlands, vol 2, Management, use and values of wetlands. Timber press, Portland, OR, pp 3–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Weller MW (1999) Wetland birds: Habitat resources and conservation implication. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Maltby E (1986) Waterlogged wealth—Why waste the world’s wet places. Earthscan, London, pp 412Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Scott DA (1989) A directory of Asian wetlands. IUCN, Gland, pp 820Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Anon (1990) Wetlands of India—A directory. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Anon (1992) Conservation of wetlands in India. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Samant JS (2000) Prioritization of biological conservation sites in Indian wetlands. In: Singh S, Sastry ARK, Mehta R, Uppal RV (eds) Setting biodiversity conservation priorities for India. WWF-India, New Delhi, pp 155–167Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    SAC (1998) Wetlands of India, Project Report: RSAM/SAC/RESA/PR/01/98. Space Applications Center, Ahmedabad, p 239Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Prasad SN, Tiwari AK, Kumar A, Kaushik P, Vijayan L, Muralidharan S, Vijayan VS (2004) Inland wetlands of India – A conservation atlas. Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore, pp 627Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Spellerberg IF (1992) Evaluation and assessment for conservation. Chapman and Hall, London, pp 260Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Groombridge B, Jenkins M (1998) Freshwater biodiversity: A preliminary global assessment. WCMC, Biodiversity Series No. 8. UNEPGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Singh S, Taneja B (2000) Prioritization for biodiversity conservation: Values and criteria. In: Singh S, Shastry ARK, Mehta R, Uppal RV (eds) Setting biodiversity conservation priorities for India, vol 1. WWF-India, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Singh S, Shastry ARK, Mehta R, Uppal RV (eds) (2000) Setting biodiversity conservation priorities for India, vol 1 and 2. WWF-India, New Delhi, pp 707Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ramsar Convention Bureau (1997) Ramsar convention manual. Ramsar Convention Bureau, GlandGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Vijayan VS, Prasad SN, Vijayan L, Muralidharan S (2004) Inland wetlands of India—conservation priorities. Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, CoimbatoreGoogle Scholar
  16. 16. Geographical area (
  17. 17.
    Perennou C, Mundkur T, Scott D, Follested, Kvenild AL (1994) The Asian waterfowl census 1987–91: Distribution and status of Asian waterfowl. AWB Publication no. 86/IWRB Special Publication No. 24. Asian Wetland Bureau and Slimbridge: International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau, Kuala LumpurGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lopez A, Mundkur T (eds) (1997) The Asian waterfowl census (1994–1996): results of the coordinated waterbird census and an overview of the status of wetlands in Asia. Wetlands International, Kuala Lumpur, pp 66Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Li ZWD, Mundkur T (2004) Numbers and distribution of waterbirds and wetlands in the Asia-Pacific region: results of the Asian waterbird census: 1997–2001. Wetlands International, Kuala LumpurGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Li ZWD, Mundkur T (2007) Numbers and distribution of waterbirds and wetlands in the Asia-Pacific region: results of the Asian waterbird census: 2002–2004. Wetlands International, Kuala LumpurGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
  22. 22.
    Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India (2007) Conservation of wetlands in India. Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ali S, Ripley SD (1987) Compact handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp 737Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Grimmett R, Inskipp C, Inskipp T (1998) Birds of the Indian subcontinent. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, pp 384Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Vijayan VS (1991) Keoladeo National Park ecology study—Final report 1980–1990. Bombay Natural History Society, MumbaiGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Vijayan L (1994) Ramsar sites of India: Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan. WWF-India, New Delhi, pp 70Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Vijayan VS, Vijayan L (2003) Salient features of the ecosystem of the Keoladeo National Park. In: Parikh J, Datye H (eds) Sustainable management of wetlands: Biodiversity and beyond. Sage Publishers, New Delhi, pp 297–323Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Vijayan VS (1986) On conserving the bird fauna of Indian wetlands. In: Proc. of the Indian Academic Soc. (Animal Sciences/Plant Sciences), Suppl., p 91–101Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kumar A, Sati JP, Tak PC (2003) Checklist of Indian waterbirds. Buceros 8(1):1–30Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kumar A, Sati JP, Tak PC, Alfred JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation. Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, pp 472Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    BirdLife International (2008) The BirdLife checklist of the birds of the world, with conservation status and taxonomic sources. Version1. Downloaded from
  32. 32.
    WWF-India, Asian Wetland Bureau (1993) Directory of Indian wetlands. WWF-India, New Delhi and Asian Wetland Bureau, Kuala Lampur, pp 123Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Finlayson M, Moser M (1991) Wetlands. IWRB, Slimbridge, pp 224Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Islam ZU, Rahmani AR (2004) Important bird areas in India: Priorities for conservation. IBCN-BNHS, Mumbai and BirdLife International, Cambridge, pp 1133Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    BirdLife International (2001) Threatened birds of Asia. BirdLife International, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Vijayan VS, Prasad SN, Vijayan L, Muralidharan S (2007) Wetland conservation and management: legal and policy issues. In: Ambat B, Vinod TR, Ravindran KV, Sabu T, Nambudiripad KD (eds) Proc. Kerala Environment Congress, 2007, Centre for Environment & Development, Thiruvananthapuram, p 21–35Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Costanza R, d Arge R, de Groot R, Farberk S, Grasso M, Hannon B et al (1997) The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387:260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    USEPA Watershed approach at a number of different geographic scales (1995)
  39. 39.
    Vidal J (2005) The new economics of ecological capital (1198). Guardian News Service (ECOFOREST). The Guardian, LondonGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Dugan PJ (1990) Wetland conservation: A review of current issues and required action. IUCN, GlandGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Prasad SN, Ramachandra TV, Ahalya N, SenGupta T, Kumar A, Tiwari AK et al (2002) Conservation of wetlands of India—A review. Trop Ecol 43(1):173–186Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Gopal B compiled (1995) Handbook of wetland management. WWF-India, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Vijayan L, Vijayan VS (2002) Ecology of the Siberian Crane in Keoladeo National Park Bharatpur, Rajasthan during the winter of 1992–1993. In: Rahmani AR, Ugra G (eds.) Birds of wetlands and grasslands. Proc. Salim Ali Centenary Seminar on the conservation of birds of the wetlands and grasslands, 1996. Bombay Nat Hist Soc, Mumbai, p 45–51Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Muralidharan S (1995) Heavy metal contamination in and around the aquatic environs of Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur. Ph. D. thesis, University of Rajasthan, JaipurGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    UNEP/FAO/WHO (1989) Guidelines for predicting dietary intake of pesticide residues. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    WHO (1993) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. 41st report of the Joint FAO/WHO expert committee on food additives. WHO Technical Report Series No. 837. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Health Canada (1996) Provisional tolerable dietary intake (PTDI). Values presently used by contaminants toxicology section. Food Directorate, Ottawa, ONGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Misra V (1989) Monitoring and surveillance of pesticidal pollution of Mahala water reservoir with special reference to its avifauna. Ph.D. thesis, Rajasthan Univ., JaipurGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Muralidharan S (1993) Aldrin poisoning of Sarus Cranes (Grus antigone) and a few granivorous birds in Keoladeo National Park Bharatpur, India. Ecotoxicology 2:196–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Prakash V, Pain DJ, Cunningham AA, Donald PF, Prakash N, Verma A et al (2003) Catastrophic collapse of Indian white-backed Gyps bengalensis and long-billed Gyps indicus vulture populations. Biol Conserv 109:381–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Pain DJ, Cunningham AA, Donald PF, Duckworth JW, Houston DC, Katzner T et al (2003) Causes and effects of temporospatial declines of Gyps vultures in Asia. Conserv Biol 17(3):661–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Oaks JL, Gilbert M, Virani MZ, Watson RT, Meteyer CU, Rideout BA et al (2004) Diclofenac residues as the cause of vulture population decline in Pakistan. Nature 427:630–633PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    BirdLife International (2009) Species factsheet: Haliaeetus leucoryphus. Downloaded from
  54. 54.
    Naoroji R (1997) Contamination in eggshells of Himalayan Grey headed Fishing Eagle in Corbett National Park, India. J Bombay Nat Hist Soc 94:398–400Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Muralidharan S, Dhananjayan V, Risebrough R, Prakash V, Jayakumar R, Bloom PH (2008) Persistent organochlorine pesticide residues in tissues and eggs of White-Backed Vulture, Gyps bengalensis from different locations in India. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 81:561–565. doi: 10.1007/s00128-008-9529-z PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Kumari A, Sinha RK, Gopal K, Prasad K (2001) Dietary intake of persistent organochlorine residues through Gangetic fishes in India. Int J Ecol Environ Sci 27:117–120Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Parikh J, Datye H, Ram TLR (2003) Developing a national wetland strategy. In: Parikh J, Datye H (eds) Sustainable management of wetlands: biodiversity and beyond. Sage Publications, New Delhi, pp 389–423Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Choudhury BC, Ram TLR (2003) The need and approach for a wetland protected area network in India. In: Parikh J, Datye H (eds) Sustainable management of wetlands: biodiversity and beyond. Sage Publications, New Delhi, pp 373–388Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Chatterjee A, Philips B, Stroud DA (2008) Wetland management planning. A guide for site managers. WWF, Wetlands International, IUCN, Ramsar ConventionGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Salim Ali FoundationThrissurIndia
  2. 2.Formerly, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History (SACON), AnaikattiCoimbatoreIndia

Personalised recommendations