Today is World Wetland Day..!!

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Today is World Wetland Day.  This year Sri Lanka is to celebrate the World Wetland day on 02nd of February with an added Ramsar Wetland of International Importance – the Vankalai Sanctuary. Vankalai received its official Ramsar status on July 2010 and marks its first wetland day this year together with other 3 Ramsar Wetlands – Bundala, Anawilundawa and Madu Ganga.

Located in North-West coastal belt of Mannar District, Vankalai has been a very important habitat for water birds. The site covers an area of 4,839 ha that consists of several ecosystems which range from arid-zone thorn scrubland, arid-zone pastures and maritime grasslands, sand dunes, mangroves, salt marshes, lagoons, tidal flats, sea-grass beds and shallow marine areas according to the Department of Widlife Conservation (DWC). Vankalai is also a refuge for a large number of waterbird species, including annual migrants, which also use this area on arrival and during their exit from Sri Lanka.

Vankali Fauna & Habitats (c) photo from DWC website

Wetlands are highly threatened ecosystems in Sri Lanka mostly looked as wastelands. But they are very important habitats for variety of animals and plants which also helps healthy human settlements by holding the excess water. Filling of wetlands often exaggerates the effects of floods. Experts’ points out on this era of Global Warming, the ability of wetlands to adapt to changing conditions will be crucial to human communities and wildlife everywhere as the full impact of climate change on our ecosystem lifelines is felt.

The World Wetland Day celebrated on 02nd of February each year marking the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 1971 in Iranian city of Ramsar. This year is a landmark as the convention completes 40 years and 2011 been the International Year of Forests, the Wetland Day adopted a theme ‘Forests for Water and Wetlands’.

The Convention entered into force in 1975 and now has nearly 160 Contracting Parties, or member States, in all parts of the world. The convention came into force for Sri Lanka on 15 October 1990 and Sri Lanka presently has 4 Ramsar Sites covering 13,361 hectares. 

Wetlands are Not Wastelands; let us protect Sri Lankan wetlands!

for more about Sri Lanka’s wetlands and Ramsar convention..

* An Overview of the Wetlands of Sri Lanka and their Conservation Significance:  http://dw.iwmi.org/wetland/SriLankanWetland_Introduction.aspx 

* List of Sri Lanka’s Ramsar Wetlands : http://www.ramsar.org/cda/en/ramsar-pubs-annolist-annotated-ramsar-16173/main/ramsar/1-30-168%5E16173_4000_0__

* Sri Lanka’s 4th RAMSAR Wetland Declared: http://www.dwc.gov.lk/index.php/home/31-4th-ramsar-wetland-declared 

* List of Wetland Ecosystem Services: http://www.ramsar.org/cda/en/ramsar-pubs-info-ecosystem-services/main/ramsar/1-30-103%5E24258_4000_0__

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