Introducing Keoladeo Ghana National Park
This famous bird sanctuary and national park has long been recognised as one of the world’s most important bird breeding and feeding grounds. In a good monsoon season over one-third of the park can be submerged, hosting over 360 species within its 29 sq km. The marshland patchwork is a wintering area for aquatic birds, including visitors from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia.
In recent years, however, poor monsoons and less water has meant fewer birds. In 2003 the Panchana Dam on the Gambhir River became operational and the park ceased to receive its usual monsoon water. In 2004 the park appealed for a higher allocation of water from the dam, but came up against fierce opposition from landholders. In 2007 the park was mostly dry and thousands of cattle grazed the grasslands that occupied the former wetlands. In early 2008 it was announced that floodwaters from the Yamuna River via the Govardhan drain would be piped to the park. In early 2011 this project was still being discussed but had not materialised. In the meantime, healthier monsoon seasons and an increased allocation from Panchana Dam has restored much of the wetlands and the bird population.