KANWAR LAKE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     16th May 2024        
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Context: The appalling condition of Bihar’s Kanwar Lake was not an issue in ongoing Lok Sabha elections. The lake is the first and only wetland in the state of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

Kanwar Lake

  • About: It is Asia’s largest freshwater oxbow lake and Bihar’s only Ramsar site.
  • Also Known as: Kabartal Jheel
  • Located: Begusarai district, Bihar
  • Formation: It was formed as a residual oxbow lake, resulting from the meandering of the Gandak River, a tributary of the Ganga.
  • Migratory Birds: Kanwar Lake serves as a vital stopover along the Central Asian Flyway, hosting 58 migratory waterbird species for rest and refueling.
  • Rich Fish Biodiversity: With over 50 documented species, Kanwar Lake is a hub of fish biodiversity, contributing to the local ecosystem's richness.
  • Habitat: The lake is home to five critically endangered species, including three vulture species and two waterbirds, emphasizing its conservation significance.
  • Threats to Conservation: Major threats to Kanwar Lake include water management activities such as drainage, water abstraction, damming, and canalization, highlighting the need for conservation efforts.

Ramsar Convention

  • About: The Ramsar Convention, signed on February 2, 1971, aims to preserve the ecological character of wetlands of international importance.
  • Origin: Named after Ramsar, the Iranian city where the treaty was signed, sites designated for conservation under this convention are identified as 'Ramsar sites'.
  • India and Ramsar Convention: The first Ramsar Site in India, the Chilika Lake in Odisha, was designated in 1981.
  • Presence in India: 80