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Location India, Tamil Nadu
Central coordinates 77o 30.00' East  8o 5.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 430 ha
Altitude 5 - 200m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Suchindram, Theroor and Vembanoor wetlands that form this IBA lie in the Kanyakumari district, at the southernmost tip of peninsular India. The history of these natural tanks is age old, but it is known that kings contributed a great deal to the irrigation facilities. Copper plate inscriptions from the 9th century mention Pasumkulam, Venchikulam, Nedumarthukulam, Perumkulam, Elemchikulam and Konadunkulam. The Pandyan king Veeranarayana was known to have had some of the tanks constructed. Veeranarayana Mangalam is named after King Veeranarayana, who built the Therrakal canal to take water from River Pazhayar to the tanks Thathiarkulam, Puthukiramamkulam and Theroorkulam. The famous Suchindram tank was built about 1,000 years ago. It is fed from the Kumari Dam constructed across Pazhayar (also called Palayar) below Sabari Dam. The Sabari and Kumari Dams may be more than 1000 years old. The River Pazhayar collects the entire drainage of the valley and irrigates a substantial part of Nanchilwadu. The main Pazhayar stream passes through Bhuthapandi-kottar, Thazhakudi and Suchindram tanks and enters the Manakudi estuary. These tanks were located towards Tiruneveli district on the northeast of the Gulf of Mannar. On the south and southwest, the IBA is bounded by Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Kanyakumari district receives rainfall from both the southwest and the northeast monsoons. The southwest monsoon starts from June and ends in September, while the northeast monsoon extends from October to the middle of December.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Garganey Spatula querquedula 2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1  Near Threatened 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   -
Coastline   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: Fishing
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributors: V. Kannan, Robert Grubh and Shailaja Grubh.

References 

Balachandran, S. (1998) Migratory, Threatened and Rare birds of Kanyakumari District. Proc. Seminar on endangered fauna of Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu (Ed.: R. S. Lal Mohan, 38-39).

Manakadan, R. and Kannan, V. (2001-2002) A study of Spot-billed Pelicans Pelecanus philippensis with special reference to its conservation. Annual Report, Bombay Natural History Society.

Grubh, R. and Grubh, S. (1989) Suchindram Kulam: A Waterbird Sanctuary for Kumari Distict. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

Wetlands International (2002) Waterbirds Population Estimates: Third Edition. Wetlands International Global Series No. 12. Wageningen, the Netherlands.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Suchindram Therur, Vembanoor. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/09/2014

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