Sarsai Nawar Wetland: Once lost its shape, now attracting migratory birds
Migratory birds birds use Sarsai Nawar Wetland to rest and feed during their cross-continental journeys.
LUCKNOW: The Etawah’s Sarsai Nawar Wetland, which ecosystem was almost collapsed and later restored by noble efforts of environment enthusiasts, is now attracting thousands of Sarus cranes and other migrating birds. These birds use this wetland to rest and feed during their cross-continental journeys.
“The wetland area of 161.27 hectare was almost destroyed. What we saw over there in 2012 wasn’t enough for birds to stay while they travel long distance,” said Prabhat Mishra, an environment enthusiast, who is now deputy director, National Savings in Agra division. Mishra is also founder of the Red Tape Foundation and was then posted in Etawah.
Mishra’s worry for the wetland got support from the then district magistrate (DM) of Etawah, Vidya Bhushan, who asked for a plan to restore it. “The initial plan was of over ₹35 lakh but we did complete the work in a record 7 days and in just ₹3.5 lakh,” he said.
The technical support was extended by Rajiv Chauhan, who is an expert on Sarus and their natural habitat. The wetland got its depth of about 2-meters and three ponds were developed around the island in the wetland.
“This was necessary to keep wild animals at bay. Presence of these animals, which is restricted by ponds, distracts away migratory birds,” said Mishra.
The degraded wetland was revived and declared Ramsar site.
Ramsar Convention has given an international status to Sarsai Nawar Wetland. Under the National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP), 115 wetlands have so far been identified by the ministry of environment, including Sarsai Nawar Jheel, in Takha block of Etawah, one of the hotspots for Sarus in India.
Conservation of this wetland was a must for the survival of Sarus Cranes and many other migratory birds. “Wetlands contain exceptional levels of biodiversity in an extremely small land area. Ironically in India, wetlands are disappearing at a rate of 2% to 3% annually and 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1990,” said Mishra.