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Ecological Concerns for the Rann of Kutch Seasonal Salt Marsh, India and Pakistan

24.0N 70.1E

March 4th, 2013 Category: Salt Flats

India – March 3rd, 2013

The Rann of Kutch Seasonal Salt Marsh is perhaps the bleakest, dustiest, and hottest region in India is the Great Rann of Kutch. It stretches for hundreds of square kilometers in the State of Gujarat, from the frontier with Pakistan’s Sind Desert, southward to the Little Rann and the Gulf of Kutch.

Despite the huge expanse of sun-baked saline clay desert (visible here as a large, white area), the Rann of Kutch seasonal salt marsh provides refuge for the last population of the endangered Asiatic wild ass (Equus hermionus) and supports the one of the world’s largest breeding colonies of the greater and lesser flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber and P. minor).

The primary threats to this ecoregion’s habitat are from cattle grazing even within the protected areas, vehicular traffic that damages the fragile ecosystem, and cutting trees to make charcoal. The proposed expansion of the commercial salt extraction operations will result in disturbances to wildlife, especially to the wild ass population and the floricans, bustards, flamingoes, and pelicans. Feral pigs around the fringes of the sanctuary carry disease, degrade habitat, and disrupt reproduction of ground-nesting birds.

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