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Bhutan Joins Ramsar, Designates Two Wetlands of International Importance

31 May 2012: The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) has announced that the Government of Bhutan has ratified the Ramsar Convention, which will come into force for Bhutan on 7 September 2012, making Bhutan Ramsar's 161st Contracting Party.

Bhutan also designated two Wetlands of International Importance. The first site, Bumdeling, is located above 1,850 meters in one of the glacial valleys. According to Ramsar, it hosts 158 rare Black-necked Cranes, which migrate from the Tibetan plateau. It was officially declared a conservation area in 1998, as the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary in Trashiyangtse district in the northeast of the country.

The second site, Khotokha, is located at an average altitude of 2,617 meter, and is one of the three broad highland valleys in the Wangdue Dzongkhag, west of the Black Mountain Range. According to Ramsar, activities carried out on the site include agriculture and grazing. The site features a marshy area and hosts cranes.

Buhtan's designations contribute to one of the goals contained in the Ramsar Convention's Strategic Plan for 2009-2015, which is to reach a protected area of 250 million hectares by 2015. [Ramsar Press Release]