The State government has recommended the declaration of the Karaivetti bird sanctuary in Ariyalur district as a Ramsar site.
Disclosing this here on Sunday, Minister for Forests M. Mathiventhan pointed out Tamil Nadu had 14 Ramsar sites and had sent proposals for getting the tag for some more sites, including the Karaivetti bird sanctuary, in the State.
Ramsar sites are wetlands designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental environmental treaty, signed in Iran in 1971, that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
To be a Ramsar site, the place must meet at least one of the nine criteria as defined by the Ramsar Convention of 1971, such as supporting vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities or, if it regularly supports 20,000 or more water birds or, is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks are dependent upon.
The Karaivetti bird sanctuary is one of the largest in the State where over 200 species of birds, including 82 water birds, have been recorded.
The sanctuary is basically an irrigation tank that receives water from the Mettur dam from September onwards, which is supplemented by the northeast monsoon from October till January. The sanctuary is one of the most important fresh water feeding ground for migratory water birds. Among the important visitors to the tank is the endangered Bar Headed Goose. The best time to visit the sanctuary for bird watching is October-March, according to the official website of Ariyalur district.
The State government sanctioned ₹1 crore for the development of the bird sanctuary and it was announced in the Assembly by the Minister during the department grants earlier this year. The works are expected to be taken up soon.
On Sunday, Mr. Mathiventhan, accompanied by Transport Minister S. S. Sivasankar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Subrat Mohapatra, and Collector J. Anne Mary Swarna, visited the bird sanctuary to assess the development requirements and amenities that are to be provided for bird watchers and tourists.
Speaking to reporters later, Mr.Mathiventhan said he had come to assess the development works that needed to be executed at the sanctuary spread over 453 hectares. All necessary steps would be taken to renovate and give a facelift to the Karaivetti bird sanctuary.