Ladakh’s Tso Kar Wetland Complex now a Wetland of International Importance

Source: PIB

News: India has added Tso Kar Wetland Complex in Ladakh as its 42nd Ramsar site which is a second one in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh. 


  • Tso Kar Basin: It 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 (a hypersaline lake of 1800 hectares to the north) situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh, India.  
  • Significance: It is also called Tso Kar meaning white lake because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins due to the evaporation of highly saline water. 
  • Important Bird Area: The Tso Kar Basin is an A1 Category Important Bird Area (IBA) as per Bird Life International and a key staging site in the Central Asian Flyway. 
  • Important Breeding Ground: The site is one of the most important breeding areas of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) in India. It is also the major breeding area for Great Crested Grebe Bar-headed Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Brown-headed Gull, Lesser Sand-Plover and many other species. 

Additional Facts: 

  • Wetlands: It provides a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation.  
  • They are a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater. 
  • Ramsar Convention on Wetland (1971): It is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. 
  • Aim: To develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits. 
  • Montreux Record: It is a register of wetland sites on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance. It shows such sites where there has been or likely to be adverse ecological changes due to anthropogenic activities. Indian sites in the Montreux Record are Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan), Loktak Lake (Manipur). 

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