Kanwar : A dying lake

Tripoto
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake by दो - घुमक्कड़

Once a heaven for migratory birds, the Kanwar lake in Bihar, Asia's largest freshwater oxbow lake, is today a dying wetland ecosystem.

Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 1/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 2/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़

Kanwar lake is located 22 km north-west of Begusarai town of Bihar. It is a residual oxbow lake, formed due to meandering of Gandak, a tributary of Ganga, in the geological past.

Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 3/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़

Kanwar lake was declared a notified area under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972. To check poaching of birds, it was declared a protected zone by the Bihar state government in 1986; the government of India declared it a bird sanctuary in 1989. The authorities had notified 15,000 acres in the area as wetland, which makes it much bigger than Kaladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan-another well-known bird sanctuary of India.

Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 4/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 5/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 6/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़

The resident and migratory birds from Central Asia and Himalayan regions flock here every winter. In addition, the wetland supports a large number of flora and fauna round the year.

Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 7/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 8/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़

Ornithologist Salim Ali, mentioned about 60 migratory birds that come all the way from Central Asia in winter and recorded about 106 species of resident birds.

Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 9/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 10/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 11/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 12/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़

During rainy season water from the adjoining villages viz. Jaimanglagarh, Rajour, Parora, Narainpur, Sonbasa, Kumbhi and others resulting to increase the depth as well as the area of the lake but during winter and summer months water dries up, resulting the sufficient shrinkage of the lake.

Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 13/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 14/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 15/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़

Water level in the lake has reduced, there is a heavy siltation and eutrophication has set in. D epth of water in the lake now is only a few metres, and hence, the wetland has almost been converted into marsh land. Weeds have spread across the marshy wetland, leading to the loss of lake's natural biodiversity.

Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 16/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 17/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़

Extensive deforestation, overgrazing, unsustainable agricultural practices, and over exploitation of biomass for fuel, fodder and timber purposes have stripped the land of its natural vegetation cover, resulting in erosion. The lake bed has been encroached extensively by the rich farmers.

Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 18/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 19/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़

The wetland, despite being a proposed Ramsar site since 1987, was not included among the 13 others declared wetlands of international importance in 2002.

Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 20/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़

Kanwar lake, the largest Ox-Bow lake, wetland and bird-sanctuary, so conservation of this lake is very essential not only for this lake rather for maintaining the biodiversity of complete region. The most important and essential step for its conservation is to include this beautiful lake under "Ramsar Convention". A strong legal framework is needed for the protection of this notified area and its a urgent need here for intervention to save this lost paradise.

Photo of Kanwar : A dying lake 21/21 by दो - घुमक्कड़
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