Faunal Heritage of Rajasthan, India

pp 231-244


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

  • Lalitha VijayanAffiliated withSalim Ali FoundationFormerly, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History (SACON), Anaikatti Email author 
  • , V. S. VijayanAffiliated withSalim Ali FoundationFormerly, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History (SACON), Anaikatti

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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.