Tsomoriri (Official name: Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve) is a High Altitude Lake (HAL) in Ladakh, India. It is situated at a height of 4595 m above MSL. Tsomiri is the largest of the High Altitude Lakes to be situated entirely within India. The Korzok Monastery which lies on the western bank of the lake is one of the oldest settlements of the world. (Dept. Of Wildlife Protection, Wildlife Division LAHDC, Undated)
Snow which falls in the region in the winter melts with the coming of summer. As there is an absence of a continuous slope to properly drain the water away, it collects in large brackish lakes that can be found in the region. (Rizvi, 1996)
Tsomiri has been notified under the Ramsar Convention for several reasons. These include
- The lake is unique with respect to the flora and fauna that it sustains
- The lake is the breeding ground for a number of species of birds such as Black-necked Crane, Bar-headed Goose and the Ruddy Shelduck.
- The wetland is situated in the middle of a cold desert. As a result a number of species of birds and animals frequent the lake to drink.
Threats to the Lake and Flora and Fauna
There are a number of threats to the lake such as
- Increase in the number of tourists visiting the lake
- Construction of a road right up to the lake
- An increase in the grazing of Sheep in the wetlands surrounding the lake
- The absence of a proper garbage disposal Facility at the lake.
- Dogs kept by the people who live near the lake are known to attack the cranes and destroy their eggs.
- Jeep safaris have beem known to chase wildlife such as Kiang and approach close to the breeding ground.
- Lack of regulations and monitoring by the government.
- Government of Jammu & Kashmir, Department of Wildlife Protection, Wildlife Division (LAHDC), Leh Ladakh (Undated): Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve (The Wildlife Guide)
- Rizvi, J. (1996) Ladakh: Crossroads of High Asia, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, India