Kabartal in Bihar has made recent headlines. But there were only a few takers. The freshwater marsh was in the news for coming under the Ramsar Convention. The convention is an international treaty, signed on February 2, 1971, for the conservation and wise use of wet lands. The treaty was signed in the city of Ramsar in Iran.
Kabartal is the first wetland in Bihar that comes under Ramsar convention. The wet land is situated in Begusarai district. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar made the announcement, stating that Kabartal in Begusarai became the first wetland in Bihar to become International importance. With Kabartal, India has now 39 Ramsar sites.
Kabartal Wetland that is also known as Kanwar Jheel covers about 2,650 hectares of the Indo-Gangetic plains. This is one of the 18 wetlands in the extensive floodplain that always floods in monsoon season. The wetland is home to about 165 plant species, including 44 Phytoplankton and 46 Macrophyte species.
One can also come across 394 animal species, which also includes 221 bird species. This includes 70 zooplankton, 39 insects, 17 molluscs, 35 fish, seven amphibians, five reptile, and 221 bird species, several of which are vulnerable, rare and endangered.
This wet land is also a stopover along the Central Asian Flyway. About 58 migratory water birds stop here and rest for a while and then restart their journey. Kabartal is also home to five critically endangered species. Red headed vulture, white rumped vulture, Indian vulture, sociable lapwing and Baer’s pochard are the five endangered species.
Some of the regions in India included in Ramsar convention are Chilika Lake (Odisha), Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan), Harike Lake (Punjab), Loktak Lake (Manipur) and Wular Lake (Jammu and Kashmir).