Saman Bird Sanctuary of Uttar Pradesh – History, Access, Topography, Geology, Hydrology, Flora, Wildlife and Restoration Plans

 Saman Bird Sanctuary is located near village Saman in Karhal tehsil of Mainpuri district in Uttar Pradesh.  

There are forty-nine selected Ramsar Sites in India, and Saman Bird Sanctuary is one of them.  

Ramsar Sites are wetland areas designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, also known as “The Convention on Wetlands”. It is an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), which came into force in 1975. It provides for national action and international cooperation regarding wetlands conservation and wise sustainable use of their resources. Ramsar identifies wetlands of international importance, especially those providing waterfowl habitat. 

History of the Place 

Saman Bird Sanctuary was established as a Ramsar Site in December 2019. This place is a shelter for many beautiful and unique migratory birds. It was announced as a Bird Sanctuary in 1990.  

Access to the Wetland 

Saman Bird Sanctuary is easily reachable to visit by the nearest airport located in Agra, famous as Kheria Airport (130 Km Approx from district Mainpuri headquarter).  

The best time to visit the sanctuary is between November and February.  

The nearest railway station is Mainpuri Junction (MNQ). Mainpuri Junction is on the Shikohabad- Farrukhabad branch line, Which is just 5 Km from this place. It is situated 35 kilometers from Mainpuri District headquarter. There are usual buses from other cities to Mainpuri. 

Topography of Area 

Saman Bird Sanctuary is spread over a 5 square kilometers area in the Mainpuri District. The sanctuary land is best suited for Bird safari.  

It’s one among the 467 IBA sites in the country designated by Birdlife International, having a rich diversity. 

Geology of Area 

This Sanctuary is under the control of the Uttar Pradesh Government. The Sanctuary regularly provides refuge to over 50,000 waterbirds 187 bird species.  

The area is spread around just about 5.25 sq km. The latitude and longitude of this place are 27°01′28″N 79°10′58″E according to Geographical Coordinate System. 

Hydrology of the Land 

Uttar Pradesh’s Saman Bird Sanctuary is a seasonal oxbow lake on the Ganges floodplain. An oxbow lake is a U-shaped lake that forms when a wide meander of a river is cut off, creating a free-standing body of water.  

This lake heavily relies on the arrival of the south-westerly Monsoon in July and August, which provides the vast majority of annual rainfall. 

Flora Found 

There are eight villages inside the Sanctuary and several along the periphery. Nelumbo is found on the entire waterbody, along with a highly diverse group of hydrophytic vegetation, including Cyperus, Phragmites, and Typha. 

Another set of noteworthy plants found here includes Feathered Waterfern, Mosquitofern, Water thyme, and Sensitive Smithia. 

However, there has been no formal study of the flora in this particular Sanctuary. 

Wildlife Around 

Saman Bird Sanctuary was notified in 1990 to safeguard the large population of sarus cranes in the area. The Sarus crane is the tallest flying bird in the world, standing 152-156 c.m tall with a wingspan of 240cm.  

Saman Bird Sanctuary today remains one of the best places in the state to view the majestic sarus cranes. This place is the haven for several species of migratory birds like common teal, northern pintail, great white pelican, and species of storks.  

The inhabitant’s population of storks in the Sanctuary includes a painted store, black-necked stork, open-billed stork, and Woolly-necked stork.  

There are also different animals such as Jackal, Mongoose, Hare, and various local and migratory birds. 

Islands in the lake 

This Sanctuary includes several smaller islands, which is an ideal habitat for water birds.  

According to Anand Kumar, a Forest Department RIS compiler, research around the lake and its islands are still in progress. Hence, not much information are available about it. 

Economic evaluation of the lake’s resources 

After the tag Ramsar Site was given to this place in December 2019, many tourists started to come to this Saman Bird Sanctuary.  

The local villagers began to use this chance to earn income by helping the foreigners. Nelumbo is one of the significant freshwaters aquatic plants found on this wetland, which benefits the seller. 

Deterioration of the lake environment 

Presently migration of long-distance winter migratory waterbirds counting drastically went down due to these reasons: 

  • local climate change 
  • environmental circumstances that discomfort the birds and degrade wetland habitats 
  • human threats 
  • biotic pressure 

In May 2019, a fire incident in the Saman Bird Sanctuary area created threats for the bird population. There is also poaching of wetlands birds in the area.  

The indiscriminate disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) in and around these wetlands areas has been observed to increase in recent years, significantly adding to and aggravating their woes.  

The condition of wetlands in North India has been exacerbated despite the Ramsar Site tag. This shows that the mere declaration of Ramsar sites has not helped the wetlands much in North India. There is a serious lack of planning, monitoring, and surveillance from the central and respective state governments. 

Apart from that, the unsustainable tourism projects in mountain areas, the increasing pollution, and reducing freshwater flows have adversely affected the Ramsar sites. There has not been any considerable intervention by central or any of the state governments. 

Restoration plans 

Global climate change impacts the Saman Bird Sanctuary in several factors. To control this problem, everyone around the place needs to take action because “change only happens when an individual takes action.  

The government needs to authorize a couple of officers to safeguard this place from human threats. Poaching of Wetland birds must be resisted. Poaching has been a concern in many wetland habitats, including the Saman bird sanctuary. To control this act, Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) was carried out as per the international protocol of Wetlands on waterbird monitoring methodology.