Mai Pokhari designated as Ramsar site

Posted on October, 29 2008

Mai Pokhari, a mid-hill wetland of religious significance in eastern Ilam district of Nepal has been declared a Ramsar site.
Kathmandu, Nepal - Mai Pokhari, a mid-hill wetland of religious significance in eastern Ilam district of Nepal has been declared a Ramsar site. The Ramsar Secretariat handed over the Ramsar certificate confirming Mai Pokhari as a Ramsar site to Mr. Shyam Bajimaya, Director General of Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation at a programme organized during the 10th Conference of Parties to the Ramsar Convention (COP10) at Changwon, the Republic of Korea on 28 October 2008.

Mai Pokhari, with catchment of 12 hectares, is located 13 kilometres away from the district headquarters. It is a major habitat for some indigenous animal species like tree frog, and Himalayan newt commonly known as 'Thakthake' and habitat for more than 300 species of birds. Mai Pokhari holds cultural and religious significance for Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims. WWF Nepal has conducted a detailed cultural and religious study of Mai Pokhari (see the downloadable booklet in Nepali).

With the declaration, Nepal now has nine wetlands listed as wetlands of international significance. The four listed wetlands in Terai are Koshi Tappu, Beeshajari Lake, Jagadhispur Reservoir and Ghodaghodi Lake. Similarly, Gokyo and associated lakes, Gosaikunda, Phoksundo and Rara lakes are the four other high altitude wetlands designated as Ramsar sites.


Wetlands are defined to include rivers, lakes, swamps, and marine areas less than six metres in depth.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands — signed in 1971 in the city of Ramsar, Iran — is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are currently 156 Parties to the Convention, with 1,676 wetland sites, totalling 150 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Member countries of the treaty are obliged to manage all wetlands in a sustainable manner, promoting the wise use of all wetlands within their territory; consult with other Parties about the implementation of the Convention, especially with regard to trans-frontier wetlands, shared water systems, shared species, and development; and designate wetlands that meet the criteria for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance for conservation.

For further information:
Neera Pradhan,Freshwater Programme Manager
WWF Nepal