Year of compilation: 2004
AVIFAUNA: About 40 species of birds were observed by Indira Gadhvi (pers. comm. 2003). The wetland regularly harbours more than 20,000 birds during winter, thus it fulfills A4iii criteria. At least two globally threatened species are seen here every winter, so it also qualifies A1 criteria. Besides this, four Near Threatened species have been seen till now, and more are likely to occur. Wetlands International (2002) has recently published new waterbird population estimates. The A4i criteria of BirdLife International (undated) states that any site which has =1% of the biogeographic population of a congregatory waterbird species could be considered as an IBA. The Kaj Lake easily qualifies this criteria as it has more than 1% population of five species. The Common Crane Grus grus can be mentioned here, although with a maximum number of 675 seen in January 2003, it does not strictly hold 1% population threshold (Wetlands International estimates 1% population threshold as 700).
OTHER KEY FAUNA: There is no mammal of great conservation concern. Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Jungle Cat Felis chaus, and Nilgai Boselaphus tragocamelus are the commonly seen in the area.
This wetland suffers from the litany of problems that beset other wetlands in India - overgrazing in the catchment area resulting in siltation, spread of invasive species and drainage of water when bird populations are at their peak in winter. As this is an irrigation reservoir, and the villagers have the right to use water for irrigation, not much can be done. As Saurashtra regularly suffers from drought, it becomes difficult to stop draining of whatever water is collected for irrigation. The welfare of birds always comes second. The only way by which villagers could be persuaded to keep some water is through conservation education and bird related tourism. If the villagers see great benefit accrued through tourism, they would be willing to save some water for the birds.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kaj Lake (Pipalava Bandharo). Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 08/08/2022.