Sunderbans - Largest Mangrove forest in India
The Sundarbans is a mangrove area in the delta formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal. It spans from the Hooghly River in India’s state of West Bengal to the Baleswar River in Bangladesh. It comprises closed and open mangrove forests, agriculturally used land, mudflats and barren land, and is intersected by multiple tidal streams and channels. The Sundarbans Mangroves eco region on the coast forms the seaward fringe of the delta and is the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem, with 20,400 square kilometres of an area covered. The dominant mangrove species Heritiera fomes is locally known as sundri or sundari. Mangrove forests are not home to a great variety of plants. They have a thick canopy, and the undergrowth is mostly seedlings of the mangrove trees. Twenty-six of the fifty broad mangrove species found in the world grow well in the Sundarbans.
A UNESCO World Heritage site.
Four protected areas in the Sundarbans are enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, viz Sundarbans National Park, Sundarbans West, Sundarbans South and Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuaries.The Sundarbans mangrove forest covers an area of about 10,000 km2 of which forests in Bangladesh’s Khulna Division extend over 6,017 km2 and in West Bengal, they extend over 4,260 km2 across the South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas districts. The most abundant tree species are sundari (Heritiera fomes) and gewa (Excoecaria agallocha). The forests provide habitat to 453 faunal wildlife, including 290 bird, 120 fish, 42 mammal, 35 reptile and eight amphibian species.
A chance to witness some rare avian beauties
Some of the birds commonly found in this region are red junglefowls, spot-billed pelicans, great egrets, cormorants, seagulls, common kingfishers, peregrine falcons, woodpeckers, northern pintails, and whistling teals.
Spot-billed pelican (Pelecanus philippensis) or grey pelican, is a member of the pelican family. It is a bird of large inland and coastal waters, especially large lakes. At a distance they are difficult to differentiate from other pelicans in the region although it is smaller but at close range the spots on the upper mandible, the lack of bright colours and the greyer plumage are distinctive. In some areas these birds nest in large colonies close to human habitations.
Great White Egrets (Ardea alba or Casmerodius albus) is a large heron (family: Ardeidae) with all-white plumage. Standing up to 1 m (3.3 ft) tall, this species have a wingspan up to 1.70 m (5.5 ft). Apart from size, the Great Egret can be distinguished from other white egrets by its yellow bill and black legs and feet. Males and females are identical in appearance; juveniles look like non-breeding adults.
Indian cormorant or Indian shag (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis) is a member of the cormorant family. It is a gregarious species that can be easily distinguished from the similar sized little cormorant by its blue eye, small head with a sloping forehead and a long narrow bill ending in a hooked tip.
Seagulls (Chlidonias hybrid) are typically medium to large birds, usually grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They typically have harsh wailing or squawking calls; stout, longish bills; and webbed feet. Most gulls are ground-nesting carnivores which take live food or scavenge opportunistically, particularly the Larus species. Live food often includes crabs and small fish.
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is small often rather shy and inconspicuous. Beautiful blue-and-orange plumage, in combination with habitat and habits, is basically unmistakable. Found along rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds—almost any fresh or brackish habitat with small fish. Often perches quietly in trees over water; most often seen in very fast low flight as a turquoise flash over the water, usually flying away. Easily detected once its high, shrill whistled call is learned, even if the bird itself is hidden.
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) is a large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-grey back, barred white under parts, and a black head. The Peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 320 km/h during its characteristic hunting stoop making it the fastest bird in the world, as well as the fastest member of the animal kingdom.
Unique experience to explore the Tiger Reserve using a boat.
Royal Bengal tiger is a population native to the Indian subcontinent and is threatened by poaching, loss, and fragmentation of habitat, and was estimated at comprising fewer than 2,500 individuals by 2011. These Royal Bengal Tigers are found largely in India and in Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and China, they are found in smaller quantities. Just like humans have a unique identity and can be differentiated, same is with tigers. The Royal Bengal tigers have unique combination and pattern of strips and no two tigers will appear to be same.
The tigers are born killers. They know the exact point to attack on the body of any animal which will snap the life out of the body. The force with which they attack breaks the spine of any animal. Also when they have a hold on the neck of the animal it is absolute that the animal is dead then.
The tigers will never roar while fighting instead they hiss and fluff. The roaring is usually when the tigers are calling out other tigers which are at a distance. Night vision of these creatures is 6 times that of humans and hearing is 5 times more. Also their roar can be heard from 2 miles away.