Identification of wetlands of international importance in Porbandar, Gujarat, western India during 2015–2021
citizen science initiatives in India. Porbandar District has unique low-lying floodplain areas, locally known as “ghed”, which become inundated with rain and flood waters during the monsoon, creating temporary wetlands used by waterbirds in the region. The ghed-facilitated inundation is also important for protecting several villagers from the devastating effects of flash floods during heavy rains. Twenty-three of Porandar’s wetlands were monitored in January each year from 2015–2021 inclusive, as a part of the AWC (following recommended count schedules and procedures), to assess their importance for waterbirds. A total of 101 counts were made across the 23 sites during the study, repeatedly covering an area of 20,192 ha. Seven wetlands supported > 20,000 waterbirds and two wetlands supported > 100,000 waterbirds at least once. Over 100,000 waterbirds were counted at the Mokarsagar Wetland Complex on five occasions. The highest annual total recorded for all wetlands combined was of 496,620 birds in 2016, and the highest number of species observed was 134 in 2020. Thirty-six species exceeded 1% of the total population (a criterion for designating sites for protection under the Ramsar Convention) at one or multiple sites. Mokarsagar alone supported 32 of these species, with Javar and Mendha Creek each receiving internationally important numbers of 11 species. Five species listed as globally threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (four classed as Vulnerable; one as Endangered) and a further 11 Near Threatened species were recorded at the Porbandar wetlands. Seventeen wetlands qualified for recognition on the basis that they exceeded at least one of the criteria used to identify sites of regional or international importance. Of the 23 wetlands surveyed, 12 faced one or multiple threats.
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