New Wetland Sites Designated in Nepal

On 25 September 2006 the wreck of a helicopter that was carrying conservationists was found near the town of Ghunsa, in Nepal. The deaths of these remarkable nature ambassadors hit the entire WWF and Nepal like a sledgehammer. Their dedication to the wildlife and Nepali resources was known throughout the country and their loss was greatly mourned by all who knew them.

Not only did the WWF lose vital members and friends of their organization, but Nepal lost their Director General of Forests, Minister of State for Forests and Soil Conservation, and their Director General of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. It is therefore a memorable and heartbreaking gesture by the Nepali Government to dedicate four new wetland sites in Nepal to the twenty-four lives that were lost one year ago.

Nepal already had four protected wetlands on the Ramsar Convention list, but have for the first time set aside high-altitude wetlands. The four existing sites include the Jagdishpur Reservoir in Kapilvastu, the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Bishajari Taal located in Chitwan and the Ghodaghodi Taal in Kailali. These sites are known for their biodiversity and conservation importance. To determine which sites to list as wetlands, the areas must include water. Authorities therefore investigate to see if features such as marine areas (water depth must be six meters or less), rivers, swamps or lakes are found. The new wetland sites in Nepal have been chosen to improve the ecosystems of the sites and to assist in the fight against climate change. Development, human disturbance and climate change can play a massive role in disruption of ecosystems and biodiversity of an area.

The new wetland sites in Nepal that have been listed with the Ramar Convention are Gosaikunda in the Langtang National Park, Phoksundo located in the Shey Phoksundo National Park, Rara Lake, and Gokyo in the Sagarmatha National Park. The conservation of wetlands is probably the most challenging project that any wildlife organization can face. Research into the impact that climate change and other factors have on the wetlands is essential to the decisions that are made to combat these problems. The preservation and protection of wetland areas are vital, and with the memory of the Ghunsa tragedy still fresh in the hearts and minds of conservationists around the world, the fight to save the natural wonders of the earth is done in dedication to those who risk everything to create a better future for all.