Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Monday, September 28, 2020

Keoladeo National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keoladeo National Park, formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, in Rajasthan is acclaimed for being one of the world’s most important bird breeding and feeding grounds. It originally served as a royal hunting reserve during the 1850’s besides being a game reserve for Maharajas and the British. Keoladeo was declared a national park in 1982 and later listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 and a Ramsar site in 1981. 

 

 

Keoladeo is an artificially created and maintained wetland site and it is recognized that the existence of Keoladeo is due to human modification. The Maharaja of Bharatpur artificially created the lake and wetland in the 19th century. By building small decks and dams and diverting water from an irrigation canal, he converted this low-lying area into a fine wild fowl shooting preserve. In a few years, the new wetland surrounded by marginal forests was able to support thousands of water birds. 

 

 

The area floods in the rainy season (July-September), from October to January the water level gradually lowers and from February the land begins to dry out. By June only some water depressions remain. The site relies on the addition of water to support the numbers of waterfowl present. Before monsoons birds roost and nest building activities start on the babool and kadam trees of Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur). Water coming through the Ajan Bandh starts filling the various ponds and lakes of Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur). 

 

 

The sanctuary not only attracts birds from India but also from places like Europe, Siberia, China and Tibet. 

 

 

 

Outstanding Universal Value 

 

 

 

Keoladeo National Park is an important wintering ground of Palaearctic migratory waterfowl and is renowned for its large congregation of non-migratory resident breeding birds. A green wildlife oasis situated within a populated human-dominated landscape, some 375 bird species and a diverse array of other life forms have been recorded in this mosaic of grasslands, woodlands, woodland swamps and wetlands of just 2,873 ha. This ‘Bird Paradise’ was developed in a natural depression wetland that was managed as a duck shooting reserve at the end of the 19th century. While hunting has ceased and the area declared a national park in 1982, its continued existence is dependent on a regulated water supply from a reservoir outside the park boundary. The park’s well-designed system of dykes and sluices provides areas of varying water depths which are used by various avifaunal species. 

 

 

Due to its strategic location in the middle of Central Asian migratory flyway and presence of water, large congregations of ducks, geese, coots, pelicans and waders arrive in the winter. The park was the only known wintering site of the central population of the critically endangered Siberian Crane, and also serves as a wintering area for other globally threatened species such as the Greater Spotted Eagle and Imperial Eagle. During the breeding season the most spectacular heronry in the region is formed by 15 species of herons, ibis, cormorants, spoonbills and storks, where in a well-flooded year over 20,000 birds nest. 

 

 

Criterion (x): The Keoladeo National Park is a wetland of international importance for migratory waterfowl, where birds migrating down the Central Asian flyway congregate before dispersing to other regions. At time of inscription it was the wintering ground for the Critically Endangered Siberian Crane, and is habitat for large numbers of resident nesting birds. Some 375 bird species have been recorded from the property including five Critically Endangered, two Endangered and six vulnerable species. Around 115 species of birds breed in the park which includes 15 water bird species forming one of the most spectacular heronries of the region. The habitat mosaic of the property supports a large number of species in a small area, with 42 species of raptors recorded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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