THE INCREDIBLE SUNDARBAN A LOVER OF NATURAL ECOSYSTEM
Sundarban reserved forest is a vast remote land mass, at the southern end of west Bengal province in India , criss-crossed with hundreds of river s, creeks and tidal channels of the Bay of Bengal .the estuarine forest is distributed over 54 islands.
Sundarban, the largest delta and the largest mangrove forest in the world, consists of 10200sq .km of mangrove forest, spread over the India (4200 sq km reserved forest) and Bangladesh(6000 sq .km of reserved forest)
In India 9600 sq.km area ,is known as sundarban or sundarban biosphere reserve (S B R ) .consists of 4200 sq km reserved mangrove forest and along its north and north western triage 5400 sq km of non forest inhabited ,54 islands are forest ,52 islands are inhabited .
*Indian sundarban biosphere reserve (S.B. R) is one of the three UNESCO- recognized biosphere reserve in the India. *River Matla divides sundarban reserved forest (4200 sq.km ) in sundarban tiger reserve (S T R 2600 sq .km) on the east and south 24 paragons reserved forest (1600 sq km ). *Indian sundarban reserved forest (all 4200 sq .km) is recognized as ramsar site (a wet land of international importance) *Sundarban national park, forming the core area of sundarban tiger reserve had received recognition as a natural world heritage site (It is one of the 5 natural W H S from India) due to its unique ecosystem. *Sundarban is the only mangrove forest where tiger lives.*Sundarban tiger (S.T. R) has the highest population of tiger in the world.
Administrative boundary of Sundarban West Bengal, India .is spreed over 2 districts, I .e, north 24 pargans and south pargans, covering 19 blocks as under South 24 pargans –Sagar, Namkhana , kakdip, Patherpatima, kultuli, Mathurapur 1, 2, Jaynagar 1, 2, Canning 1,2 , Barasat , Gosaba North 24 pargans- Hingalgang , Hasnabad , Haroa , Sandeshkhali 1, 2, Minakhan.
GEOGRAPHY River Ganges in its different branches falls in to bay of Bengal forming this largest prograding over the two centuries India and and Bangladesh , it is covered solely by quaternary sediments carried and deposited by rivers Ganges , Matla ,Vdyadhari ,Saptamukhi,Thakuran ,Gosaba , Hoogly , Kalindi , Raymongal ,Gatal , jhila, these are main estuaries in Indian sundarban . Indian S B R Is bound on the west by river Muriganga and on the east by rivers Haribhanga and Raimongal .the present depositions of detritus have forned since last 6000 years of stable phase. Between 12th and 16th century Bengal basin suffered some geotectonic movement s there was an easterly titt, which resulted in shift of Ganges to wards the east and river Padma become active. during this period the Matla and Vidhyadhari river system formed innumerable network of creeks between gangs and padma .in 16th century, the ganges flow shifted almost totally eastward into river Padma , and the Matla and Vidhyadhari river system got completely cut off from sweet source And is presently fed by back water tidal waves of sea. Due to sea-proximity of the region average temp is equable and around 35: c average humidity is 82% round the year .from march to June is summer, from June to October is rainy season .average rainfall is 1920 mm. so March to September Is rough weather. December to February is winter .favorable time for tourism is October to March Out of total recorded forest area, 55% under land vegetation cover and 45%is under water body.
Sundarban is rich salt-tolerant halophyte vegetation knows as mangroves raging from grasses, shrubs totally plants ,they have common features like pneumatophores(breathing roots), stilt roots, vivuieaiparous germination and xerophytes leaves. You may find here flowing; Baen (Avicenna maria, a.alba, aofficinals) Dhani grass (Oryza coarctata) ,Genewa (Excoecaria agalloca) , Sundari(Heritiera fomes), Goran(Ceriops species), Hental(Phoexix spp) , Garjan(Rhizophera), passur (xylocarpus mekon gensis) Golpata plam swams (Nipa fruticans ), kankra plant( bruguiera spp ) Dhundul (xylocarpus grantum ),
A recent study has shown that sundarbn creeks and estuaries have around 102 species of phytoplankton, floral diversity at a glance. True mangrove species=26, Mangrove associates=29 , Back mangroves species=29 ,Genera=60 Family=40
MANGROVE AND AQUQTIC FAUNA
According to hunters statistical account of sundarban ,in 1878 ,tigers ,leopards, rhinoceros, wild buffalos ,wild hogs, wild cats ,barsinga, spotted deer, hog deer, barking deer, and monkeys are the principal verities of wild animals found in sundarban , . however due to mans inhabitation and ecological degradation java rhino ,wild buffalos ,swamp deer and barking deer and leopard are extinct in last two centuries .present interesting animals are spotted deer ,wild boar ,rhesus monkeys ,dolphins ,estuarine crocodiles, water moniter,sea terrapin, six spp.of shark.
Cat varieties are leopard cat(felies bengalensis) fishing cat (felis viverrina) jungle cat (files chaus) turtle species are olive ridly (lepidochelys oliveacea) green sea turtle (chelonian mydas), Hawsbill turtle (eritmochelys imbricate)Gangetic dolphin ( platinsta gangetica) Snubin dolfhin( orcella brevirostries) river terrapin (batgur baska) . There are 11 species of prawns ,venomos snakes ,viz , king cobra, common cobra, common krit, banded krait, non venomonus snakes ,viz, while the python, chequered kee-back , rat snake, Dhaman ,green whip snake are present here and several other species constitute the non-venomous . There are 185 species of birds, belong to 39 families, like king fishers, white backed vulture, white bellied sea eagle, osprey, cuckoos and kolas. Large and small spoonbills, darters, teal, partridges, green pigeons , great variety of wild geese and ducks .
A rich stock and verity of fish, fishes, snakes, mudskippers, mollusks,crabs ,and prawns are natural products of the estuaries.diffrent species of sharks & rays , 250 finfish species, various edible commercial fish species .two species of trilobite (tachepleursgygus and carcinoscorpius ) known as horse shoe crab are living endangered fossils and many more marine species attracts the sundarban bio diversity lovers and research works . FAUNAL AT A GLANCE DIVERSITY
- Total no species =1586 * Vertebrate species =481
- Hemichotedate species =1 * Invertebrate species =1104 *Protozoan species=106
SPECIES INCLUDED IN WILD LIFE PROTECTION (WLP) ACT. *Mammals=15 *Birds =8 *Reptiles=17
PECULIER NATURAL SPECTACLE
Sunset in the shore of sea.
Bonie watchtower at sundar kati named Sir Buddha Guha .
Adjutant flying over the green sea & other birds.
Estuarine crocodile on the shore basking in the Sun.
one armed fiddle crab.
Olive ridley turtle returning to the sea after egg lying .
Wandering or grazing wild boar or spotted deer.
Pneumatsphones of tress & different halophytic plants.
Hardly seen sight of swimming or springing tiger. but it is known as the land of cleared royal Bengal tiger .when one are enters the forest ,one hardly sees a tiger ,rather the big cat is always watching one to exploit the most opportune moment when it can jump upon the unsuspecting pry .
ANNALS AND ANTIQUITES OF SUNDARBAN
Sundarban , however dreaded for so called man –eater tiger, large poisonous snakes, crocodiles and different outher difficulties of human life , bears an extremely rich heritage of old civilization. As far back as 2400 years ago many busy ports and cities existent rivers of this area .images of gods and goddess, prehistoric fossils , earther pts ,household items ,coins are discovered at many places in sundarban ,some of them dates back to 3000 year . There are very good collections of chronological findings of sundarban which are kept in asutosh museum and state archaeological museum in kolkata .except these ,there are twenty six small and big museums in sundarban which are holding archaeological treasures of sundarban .ancidently name of sundarban was Gangaridae to outsiders. Probably there is no outher place on the glove where such type of work have been made .important historic museums of sundarban are
- Sundarban Anchalik Sangrahasala -Baruipur
- Gangaridae Research center – kakdip
- Balanda Archaeological museum –Haroa
- Chandraketugerh Sangrasala- Berachapa
- Late kali Das Dutts Sangrahasala –Joynagar , 24parganas
- Narasingha ashram-kakdwip, 24 pargans
- Ramkrishna mission Sangrhasala-Nimpith & Manasadwip sager both 24 pargans .
- Pratna-itihas Sanskrit Gobesana Kendra –Anima Bhaban , Dhopagachi, Barium 24 pargans There are ample evidences of a lofty civilization around these estuaries in ancient literature of India, grease italic and Indonesia.
ESPECIALLITY OF TIGER (IS MAN EATER)As compared to outher regions, in Sundarban tigers have to survive in the most difficult terrain. Induction of major part of forest floor for almost 12 hours a day during high tides ,clayey mud making rushing to, stalking or chasing a prey ,a most difficult activity ,and vulnerability of man in such a difficult terrain have perhaps been responsible for killing of people by sundarban tiger . People entering forest are likely to be attacked by it. Occasionally, tiger enter a village takes dogs, goats, cows etc. tigers stray into villagers.(1) Due to injury or old age making it incapable of hunting in the wild ( 2) During mating season when fighting among adult males is common (3) Due to loss of direction out of storm or tidal current Studies concluded that tigers staring out of forest had never attacked or killed people intentionally-people were injured or killed when the tigers were cornered. MAN: SOCIO-ECONOMIC PROFILE IN SUNDARBAN
People primarily depend on rain fed monocroping 50%farmers are landless laborers .during agricultural lean season, people resort to fishing and collection of prawn seeds, even risking their lives at tigers and crocodiles .in April-May some enter the reserved forest with permits collect honey which is entirely purchased by forest dept. Out of 5400 sq.km .inhabited area there are only 42 km ruilline and 300 km .road network .the region consisting of 52non-forest islands and boats are means of communication .there is acute shortage of pacca or well-maintained jetties. 3500 km of earthen embankments protect the villagers in 52 non-forested islands against flooding during high tides twice a day .but it cannot protect human like from oceanic cataclysm or sever cyclonic deluge like tsunami or aila. And vulnerability to such disasters is a great cause of economic distress and lower standard of living of people in sundarban.NATURES SCHOOL Sundarban reserved forest is a vast and remote land mass criss –crossed with hundreds of rivers, creeks and tidal channels. The estuarine forest is distributed over 54 island entry into the tiger land is only with water crafts, but seeing a tiger is a chance of one in thousands .avifauna like kingfisher adjutant stork ,white –bellied eggs are common sights .so also curious spotted dear or lazy basking crocodiles .the natures magic of high and low tide ,the rhizophores having still roots or pneumatophores having breathing roots ,or phoenix providing perfect camouflage for tigers teach tourists natures determination to survive and sustain .the prehistoric mud skippers or many species of crabs ,fish ,oysters and mollusks can make the visitors enthralled. And a glories sunrise at kalash or enchanting Sunset in forest can be an exclamation for ever .thus sundarban is a nature’s school for eco-tourists.CRYING NEED Due to green house effect causing continuous global warming and world –wide mishaps by men, seas are rising and islands are receding .however it has always been felt that there is much talk and less action. Eco –tourist and eco-tourism organizers can bear powerful solutions including development of halophytes and bioshields.there is a need for an integrated program of all corners of world wide people in this area. Only such bioshields can help to minimize effects of Alia .improve ecosystem and offer economic returns sustainable, to the people of this area.
Some important tourist spot in the Sundarban
SAJNEKHALI It is known as head office of the forest department. Presently, a well decorated museum has been built here. Besides it, there are some large crocodiles in a Lake .A watch tower just besides this lake .The forest can be viewed from this tower .Generally, in the morning and evening so many resus monkey, spotted dear, White kite, stork (long beeak, snail, and eater) pigs can be seen. Apart from this office, the tourism department of the government of West Bengal.
NETIDHOPANI One must visit netidhopani while in the sundarban .it is to be noted that, in the order to enrich the culture of India, some sport imagination mingled with fact .But it is said that, the boat of Behula and Lakhinder got anchored in the ghat, and from here It was permitted to enter the heaven .Therefore, though this ghat evokes lots of imagination, it can be considered a memory to us .A Shiva temple of nearly300 years old Is found here, which might be a subject matter of research.According to history, this road is built by king prapaditya in order to guard the costal area .some more old roads are found here in side the forest .A pond is also seen here. It might be possible to see any tiger drinking water here.one can heve a clear view of a far distance from the Watch tower. Some times Kalace snake and Laudanga snake are also seen here. Also, Banabakul and Sundari plant are found. While entering netidhopani, one will find a temple of Banabibi , goddess of forest as wellas deltans.
DO-BANKI Tigers of the Sundarbans are driven in this area when they try to enter the locality .Also they come here for reproduction .While walking though the long hanging concrete bridge, you will find tigers just below it .Do not worried, the bridge is fenced with iron net.. PAKHIRALAYA While going to sajnekhali, one can find it as the right hand side .As we go for tours in the winter ,a large number of birds fly from many countries and take shelter here .some of them Tailorbird ,Robin, Barhminikhite ,White kite, pankouri (fish eater,under water) Tirtrive, Stork(long beak,snail eater) Spotted dove etc. SUDHANYAKHALI Generally, sudhanyakhali is included on one day tour .there is a watching tower here. CHARGHERI SAND BANKOne should not get scared of this name .Thai octopus does not attack human beings .it eats small creatures .This area is situated nearby chargheri village beside the river Gadal. The creatures which are available here are Starfish , Merostomata, jelly fish , horse show crab sea cucumber, polychata different types of snail(murex, denum , kumb)Hermit crab various other crabs Anemone and Horse shoe crab etc. If one watches minutely, on will find dog faced water snake in this sand eating some muddy fish. They are very quiet in nature .These snakes are one meter length .you will enjoy if you ask your guide to move this snake. BURIR DABRI Time and the cost of the package might be a bit high, but this buridabri should not be omitted the most modern watch tower has been build here. Near Bangaladesh boder. KALASDWIP Can be reached after crossing Vidy and Matla rivers, adensely wooded island. BONI CAMP Very interesting this place , and silent watch tower and sweet water pond. GOSABA Main city, Remembered as Sir David Hamilton settlement. MARICHJHANPI
Most of the sundarban have heard the name of Marichjhanpi. The refugees who came from Bangladesh settled down here but later were evicted through a blood-crdling intervention of the government.
KALIRCHAR &CHENARAR CHAR (Bank of the river Gadal )
SUNDARBAN ACTIVE DELTA IS THUS THE PERFECT DESTINATION FOR THE EXCURSION & STUDY TOURS OF THE STUDENTS OF VARIOUS DISCIPLINE SUCH AS BOTANY, ZOOLOGY, GEOGRAPHY, SOCIAL SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT STUDIES.
The nature lover’s paradise sundarban should be more beautiful in days to come and we all should take such effort to protect this virgin places from further destruction due to faulty land uses and make it a lousy fun loving tourist a spot –which will only destroy this beautiful nature study centre.