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The delta of Sundarbans

INTRODUCTION

The delta of Sundarbans is the largest forest of mangrove swamp of the world. The area extends through Bangladesh and India. It was classified world heritage of UNESCO* (it is even entered twice, one by country).

Geographical map of Sundarbans

PRESENTATION

The area, which extends on more than 100 km inside the grounds, recovers approximately 10 000 km² of which 60% are located at Bangladesh, the remainder being in India. The northern part of the area, where dominate the thick forests, is almost deserted. The mangrove swamps, located along the coasts, are vastest of the world.

The Sundarbans National Park* have an abundant fauna including of many species of monkeys and snakes, the saltwater crocodiles and wild boars. The area is moreover one of the last refuges of the Bengal tiger* which been the subject there of a program of protection supported by World Wildlife Fund (WWF)*.

Welcome with the national park of Sundarbans in India

HISTORY

The history of the sector of Sundarbans starts, according to what could be found, in 200-300 before Jesus-Christ. The ruins of a city, built by Chand Sadagar, was found in the forest of Baghmara. During the Mogul empire, the rajah Basand Spoke and his nephew found refuge in Sundarbans in order to escape the invasion from Akbar the great*. Several buildings builds during this exile fell later to the hands from the pirates and other smugglers like to the Portuguese soldiers at the 17th century. These facts could be recalled thanks to the ruins of Netidhopani and the other places disseminated in all Sundarbans.

During the Mughal period (1203-1538), the local kings resided in the forests of Sundarbans.

The first authorities on forest management were created in 1869. Sundarbans are declared reserve forest in 1875 under the terms of law VII of the forests of 1865. In 1875, most of the forests of mangrove swamp were added in Sundarbans. The remainder of the forests obtains this same statute the following year whereas they were managed by the district of the civil administration.

The current National park of Sundarbans is declared officially reserve of tigers** in 1973 then animalist reserve in 1977. It is on May 4th, 1984 that it receives the name of National park. It is into 1987 that the park of Sundarbans is registered in the list of the world heritage of the UNESCO* then in 1989 also obtains the statute of biosphere reserve.

Sunset in the park of Sundarbans

FAUNA OF THE PARK

The park of Sundarbans is a sanctuary for approximately 400 tigers*. These felid* developed a single characteristic for swimming in water saltworks. In addition to the Bengal tigers*, Sundarbans are also the refuge for the fishing cat*, the macaque, the wild boar, the mongoose, the fox, the Leopard cat, the flying fox, the pangolin, the chital (the latter are abundant in the park).

The tiger of Sundarbans

FLORA OF THE PARK

The vegetation of mangrove swamps of Sundarbans is composed of 64 plant species having the capacity to resist the attacks saltworks due to the tides. In May and April, the red sheets blazing of the genwa (Excoecaria agallocha), the red flowers of will kankra (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza), as well as the yellow flowers of Khasi add more to the beauty of this extraordinary environment. One also finds other plants and trees in the park such as the dhundal, the passur (Xylocarpus mekongensis), the garjan (Rhizophora spp.), the sundari (Heritiera fomes) and the goran (Ceriops will decandra).

The mangrove swamp of Sundarbans

AVIFAUNA

The avifauna of the park of Sundarbans is also very rich in species. For example the Blue-eared Kingfisher is one of the species of birds which one can see in the forest. There are also other more popular birds such as the Asian Openbill, American White Ibis, Common Moorhen, the Coots, the Pheasant-tailed Jacana, the Western Marsh-harrier, Common Myna, the Jungle Crow, the Cotton Pygmy Goose, the Herring Gull, the Caspian Tern, the Grey Heron, the Ruddy Shelduck, the Spot-billed Pelican, the Great Egret, the Black-crowned Night Heron, the Common Snipe, the Wood Sandpiper, the Cormorant, the White-bellied Sea-eagle are examples of species which one can easily find in Sundarbans.

Avifauna of Sundarbans : White-bellied Sea-eagle

THE AQUA FAUNA

Certain fish and Amphibians which one finds in water of the park are the Sawfish, the electric eel, the silver carp, the Common carp, the Ganges River Dolphin, the common toad and the European tree frog.

The aqua fauna of Sundarbans

REPTILES

The Parc national of Sundarbans shelters a certain number of reptiles whose more current are the Kemp’s Ridley, the Sea serpent, the green turtle, the saltwater crocodile, the chameleon, the king cobra, the black rat snake as well as the python.

Photo of a saltwater crocodile in Sundarbans

SPECIES THREATENED

The species threatened of extinction which live in Sundarbans are the Bengal tiger*, the saltwater crocodile, the Batagur baska, the Kemp’s Ridley, the Ganges River Dolphin, as well as the horseshoe crab.

Animal species threatened in Sundarbans

MANAGEMENT AND FORCED

Although an increased protection is installation within the park, the personnel must still face the threats of poaching and inopportune deforestations. The staff shortage, of infrastructures as well as the lack of financial funds are the independent factors of the continuity of the sacage.

Fairy-like landscape of the national park of Sundarbans

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