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General Information about Sunderbans

The Sundarbans is a vast forest in the coastal region of the Bay of Bengal; considered one of the natural wonders of the world, it was recognised in 1997 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bangladesh. The Sundarbans is the world's largest coastal mangrove forest, with an area of approximately 10,000 sq km; of which approximately 6,000 sq km is situated in Bangladesh and approximately 4,000 sq km in India. The Bangladeshi and Indian parts of the Sundarbans, while in fact adjacent parts of the uninterrupted landmark, have been listed separately in the UNESCO World Heritage List: as "Sundarbans" and "Sundarban National Park" respectively. The Sundarbans are a network of marine streams, mud shores and mangrove forests. The region is known to contain numerous species of animals, birds and reptiles, including Royal Bengal Tiger, Chital Deer, Crocodile and Snakes . On 21 May 1992, the Sundarbans was recognized as a Ramsar Site of ecological importance.

The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful forest" in the Bengali language. The name may have been derived from the Sundari trees that are found in Sundarbans in large numbers.

The Sundarbans is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests. The interconnected network of waterways makes almost every corner of the forest accessible by boat. The area is known for the Bengal tiger, as well as numerous fauna including species of birds, spotted deer, crocodiles and snakes. The fertile soils of the delta have been subject to intensive human use for centuries, and the ecoregion has been mostly converted to intensive agriculture, with few enclaves of forest remaining. The remaining forests, taken together with the Sundarbans mangroves, are important habitat for the endangered tiger. Additionally, the Sundarbans serves a crucial function as a protective barrier for the millions of inhabitants in and around Khulna and Mongla against the floods that result from the cyclones. The Sundarbans has also been enlisted among the finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature.

Several predators dwell in the labyrinth of channels, branches and roots that poke up into the air. This is the only mangrove ecoregion that harbours the Indo-Pacific region's largest terrestrial predator, the Bengal tiger. Unlike in other habitats, tigers live here and swim among the mangrove islands, where they hunt scarce prey such as the chital deer (axis axis), Indian muntjacs, wild boars, and even rhesus macaque. It is estimated that there are now 180 Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area. The tigers regularly attack and kill humans who venture into the forest, human deaths ranging from 30–100 per year.

Some reptiles are predators too, including two species of crocodiles, the saltwater crocodile and mugger crocodile, as well as the gharial and the water monitor lizards, all of which hunt on both land and water. Sharks and the Gangetic dolphins roam the waterways.The forest is also rich in bird life, with 286 species including the endemic brown-winged kingfishers and the globally threatened lesser adjutants and masked finfoots and birds of prey such as the ospreys, white-bellied sea eagles and grey-headed fish eagles.

Some fish and amphibians found in the Sundarbans are sawfish, butter fish, electric ray, common carp, silver carp, barb, river eels, starfish, king crab, fiddler crab, hermit crab, prawn, shrimps, Gangetic dolphins, skipping frogs, common toads and tree frogs. One particularly interesting fish is the mudskipper, a gobioid that climbs out of the water into mudflats and even climbs trees.

Some fish and amphibians found in the Sundarbans are sawfish, butter fish, electric ray, common carp, silver carp, barb, river eels, starfish, king crab, fiddler crab, hermit crab, prawn, shrimps, Gangetic dolphins, skipping frogs, common toads and tree frogs. One particularly interesting fish is the mudskipper, a gobioid that climbs out of the water into mudflats and even climbs trees.


The Sundarbans National Park is a National Park, Tiger Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve in West Bengal, India. It is part of the Sundarbans on the Ganges Delta, and adjacent to the Sundarban Reserve Forest in Bangladesh. The delta is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger. It is also home to a variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species, including the salt-water crocodile. The present Sundarban National Park was declared as the core area of Sundarban Tiger Reserve in 1973 and a wildlife sanctuary in 1977. On 4 May 1984 it was declared a National Park. It is a UNESCO world heritage site inscripted in 1987. It is considered as a World Network of Biosphere Reserve (Man and Biosphere Reserve) in 2001.

The average minimum and maximum temperature is 20 °C and 48 °C respectively. Rainfall is heavy with humidity as high as 80% as it is close to the Bay of Bengal. The monsoon lasts from mid-June to mid-September. Prevailing wind is from the north and north-east from October to mid-March and south west westerlies prevails from mid-March to September. Storms which sometimes develop into cyclones are common during the months of May and October.

The Bengal Tiger is the commonly found species in the park. Having protection since its creation, the core area is free from all human disturbances such as collection of wood, honey, fishing, and other forest products. However, in the buffer area, these activities are permitted in limited form. The forest staff, using motorboats and launches, protect the park from illegal poaching and theft. Forest offices and camps are located at several important parts of the park. Under the supervision of a range officer, two or three experienced workers manage anti-poaching camps.

Habitat of wildlife is maintained through eco-conservation, eco-development, training, education and research. Ten Forest Protection Committees and 14 Eco-development Committees have been formed in the fringe of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve to help in this regard. Seminars, workshops and awareness camps are organised in the vicinity of park to educate the people on eco-conservation, eco-development and such other issues. Mangrove and other plants are planted in the fringe area to meet the local need of fuel wood for about 1000 villages and to conserve the buffer area. Conservation of soil is done to maintain the ecological balance. Several sweet water ponds have been dug up inside the park to provide drinking water for the wild animals.

Controlling man-eating tigers is another major activity. The number of casualties has been reduced from 40 to 10 per year. The reduction in number of casualties is a result of strict control over the movement of the people inside the tiger reserve, alternative income generation and awareness building among people. It is also believed that due to use of human masks and electric human dummies the tigers will stay away from the people. Straying of tigers into nearby villages is prevented through measures such as nylon net fencing and solar illumination of villages. The youths of the villages are given training in controlling the straying of tigers into the villages.

The only means of travelling the park is to by boat, down the various lanes formed by the many flowing rivers. Local boats or vessels operated by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation, namely M.V. Chitrarekha and M.V. Sarbajaya.

Apart from viewing the wildlife from boat safaris, visitors also visit the Bhagatpur Crocodile Project, a crocodile breeding farm, Sagar Island, Jambudweep, Sudhanyakali watchtower, Buriidabri Tiger Project, Netidhopani Watchtower, Haliday Island, Kanak, and Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary .


Sunderban Tiger Reserve :
The Sunderban Tiger Reserve is located in South 24 Paraganas, West Bengal and has a total geographical area of 2585 km2 with 1437.4 km2 consisting of populated areas and forest covering 1474 km2 These forests have salt water crocodiles, estuarine and marine turtles and a number of bird species. Besides tiger, the reserve has fishing cat, spotted deer, rhesus monkey and wild pigs.On average 500 quintals of honey and 30 quintals of wax are collected each year by local people under licence from Forest Department.

Distance :
Air: Sundarban National Park is located 140 km far from Kolkata Airport(Also known as Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Airport and Dum Dum Airport)

Rail: The nearest Railway station of Sundarban National Park is Canning Railway station which is located 29 km far from the Gate way of Sundarban (i.e. Godhkhali)

Road: Sundarban National Park is well connected with Kolkata – Basanti High way.


Though the options for cuisine and food here are modest and limited, one can relish the freshest catches from the water around and indulge in mouth watering dishes prepared from the same. However since the options for restaurants and joints are limited, it is best to stick to your hotels to avail decent food options.

 

Map & Location