Sundarban, the world's largest delta, spans 10,200 square kilometres of Mangrove Forest in India and Bangladesh. Sundarbans National Park, located in the southern part of West Bengal, is a part of the forest within Indian territory. The Sundarbans cover an area of 38,500 sq km, with water/marsh covering about a third of it. Sundari trees can be found in abundance throughout the forest. The Royal Bengal tigers are well-known in Sundarban.
- According to a recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), the Indian Sunderbans, which is part of the world's largest mangrove forest, is home to 428 species of birds.
- The Sundarbans is the world's largest delta and mangrove forest.
- The Indian Sunderbans, which cover 4,200 square kilometres and include the 2,585-square-kilometer Sunderban Tiger Reserve, is a world heritage site and a Ramsar Site, and are home to about 96 Royal Bengal Tigers (2020).
- The Muriganga River runs through the Indian Sunderbans on the west, and the Harinbhahga and Raimangal rivers run through it on the east.
- Saptamukhi, Thakuran, Matla, and Goasaba are some of the other major rivers that flow through this eco-system.
- According to recent studies, the Indian Sundarban is home to 2,626 species of fauna and 90 percent of the country's mangrove varieties.
- There are over 1,300 species of birds in India, scientists have identified 428 birds, some of which are only found in the Sunderbans, such as the Masked Finfoot and Buffy fish owl.
- Nine of the country's 12 kingfisher species can be found here, as well as rare species like the Goliath heron and Spoon-billed Sandpiper.
When was sunderban National park established?
- The land that served as a refuge for refugees in the 13th century has now been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most well-known location for tiger conservation as part of the Tiger Project.
- On December 7, 1878, the Sundarbans were designated as a protected forest for the first time. Much of this was later leased out to the government for agricultural purposes, but the remaining protected forests were defined by Notification No. 4457-For, dated April 9, 1926. Protected forests in the district's Basirhat Division were declared reserved forests on August 9, 1928, and those in the Namkhana Division on May 29, 1943.
- In the year 1973, the Sundarbans were designated as a Tiger Reserve. In the year 1977, it was designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary.
- In the year 1984, the Sundarbans Wildlife Sanctuary was designated as a National Park.
- The UNESCO designated the Sundarbans as a World Heritage Site in 1987. The park receives funding from both the state and the MOEF through various Plan and Non-Plan Budgets.
- The central government provides additional funding through Project Tiger. The World Heritage Fund awarded a grant of US$20,000 in 2001 as preparatory assistance for promotion between India and Bangladesh.
- Because the area was densely forested with mangroves and swampy islands, it was ideal for tiger habitat, and the tiger project was launched in 2004 as a scientific research project.
- In 2001, UNESCO designated the Sunderbans as a Biosphere Reserve.
- In January 2019, the Ramsar Convention designated the Sundarban Wetland in India as a "Wetland of International Importance."
- Mangroves are plant communities found in the intertidal zones of tropical and subtropical countries' coasts.
- Mangrove forests serve a variety of ecological functions, including the production of woody trees, habitat, food, and spawning grounds for fin-fish and shellfish, habitat for birds and other valuable fauna, for coastal protection, and sediment accretion to form new land.
- West Bengal has the highest percentage of total mangrove cover among states and union territories, followed by Gujarat and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The Sundarbans National Park is located in West Bengal's North and South 24-Paraganas districts. It is close to Bangladesh's Sundarbans Reserve Forest.
- The diurnal tidal flow maintains the waterways in the tiger reserve, with an average rise and fall of 2.15 metres on the coast and up to 5.68 metres on Sagar Island. Tidal waves are a common occurrence that can reach heights of up to 75 metres.
- About half of the Sundarbans is submerged, and the rest is made up of low-lying alluvial islands and mud banks, with sandy beaches and dunes along the coast.
- At this estuarine delta, there are seven main rivers and numerous watercourses that form a network of channels.
- All of the rivers flow southward toward the sea. The eco-geography of this area is completely reliant on the tidal effect of two flow tides and two ebb tides that occur every 24 hours, with a tidal range of 3–5 m and up to 8 m in normal spring tide, inundating the entire Sunderban in varying depths.
- The Sunderban mudflats are found near the estuary and on deltaic islands where river and tidal currents have a low velocity.
- The flats are exposed at low tides and submerged at high tides, morphologically changing even within a single tidal cycle. The interior parts of the mudflats provide the ideal habitat for mangroves.
- Outside of the Sundarbans National Park, there are a number of mudflats that have the potential to become tourist destinations in the Sundarbans.
Genwa, Kankra, Khalsi, Dhundal, Passur, Garjan, Sundari, Goran, Kankara etc.
Mammals – Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard Cats, Chital, Macaques, Wild Boar, Fox, Jungle Cat, Flying Fox, Pangolin, Indian Grey Mongoose, Fishing Cats etc.
Birds – Common Kingfishers, Peregrine falcons, Woodpeckers, Jungle Babblers, Cotton Teals, Herring Gulls, Caspian Terns, Gray Herons, Green Pigeons, Rose Ringed Parakeets, Paradise Flycatchers, Cormorants, Fishing Eagles, White Bellied Sea Eagles, Brahminy Ducks, Spotted Billed Pelicans, Large Egrets, Night Herons, Open Billed Storks, White Ibis, Water Hens, Coots, Pheasant Tailed Jacanas, Common Snipes, Wood Sandpipers, Pariah Kites, Brahminy Kites, Marsh Harriers, Swamp Partridges, Red Jungle Fowls, Spotted Doves, Common Mynahs, Jungle Crows etc.
Reptiles – King Cobras, Russels Vipers, Mouse Ghekos, Monitor Lizards, Curviers, Hawks Bill Turtles, Estuarine Crocodiles, Chameleons, Dog Faced Water Snakes, Green Turtles, Pythons, Common Kraits, Rat Snakes, Olive Ridley Turtles, Sea Snakes, Salvator Lizards, Hard Shelled Batgun Terrapins etc.
Aqua-fauna – Shrimps, Common Carp, Crabs, Saw Fish, Electric Rays, Silver Carp, Star Fish, Prawn, Skipping Frogs, Common Toads, Butterfly Fish, Gangetic Dolphins, Tree Frogs etc.