Asan Conservation Reserve has become the first wetland from Uttarakhand to be included in the prestigious Ramsar sites list. Besides Asan, Kabartal Wetland from Bihar was the second new site to get included in this list. On the fresh inclusion, the Ramsar website stated that “India has named two new Wetlands of International Importance, bringing its total number of ‘Ramsar Sites’ to 39.”

Till February 2020, only 37 sites from India were in the Ramsar site list, which has now been extended to 39. Located 40 kms from Dehradun, Asan attracts a big population of migratory birds in winters. The man-made wetland possibly attracts the biggest number of Brahminy Duck or Ruddy Shelduck in the entire India.

Traveling all the way from central Asia, the migratory birds make Asan their home for four-five months. Many listed as globally endangered species in the IUCN’s Red Data Book like- Brahminy Duck, Pintail, Red Crested Pochard, Gadwall, Common Pochard, Mallard, Coot, Wigeon, Common Teal, Tufted Duck, Shoveller- provide a treat to birdwatcher here, every winter.

Pradeep Saxena, bird expert working with Chakrata forest division, says, “This time the arrival of migratory birds started earlier this month with common Pochard, Common Coot, Brahminy Duck and grey leg geese arriving at Asan for winter stay. Generally, by November all the bird species arrive at the barrage.”

Nature and bird lovers are excited over Asan getting the Ramsar tag. They are hopeful that the listing will help in the better management of the wetland.