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Sundarban

SUNDARBAN

QUEEN OF NATURE AND WILDLIFE

World largest mangrove forest Sundarban is the biggest mangrove forest in the world. Sundarban is in South West part of Bangladesh, in the district of greater Khulna. India shares a bit of the forest with Bangladesh. The total area is about 38,000 square kilo meters. Sundarban is a large block of littoral forests. The beauty lies in its unique natural surrounding. The Sundarbans are a part of the world’s largest delta formed by the rivers Ganges,Brahmaputra and Meghna. Thousands of meandering streams, creeks, rivers and estuaries have enhanced its charm. For miles and miles, the lofty treetops form an unbroken canopy, while nearer the ground, works of high and ebb-tide marked on the soil and tree trunks and the many varieties of the natural mangrove forest have much to offer to an inquisitive visitor. Sundarban is the natural habitat of the world’s famous Royal Bengal Tiger, spotted deer, crocodiles, jungle fowl, wild boar, lizards and many more. Migratory flock ofSiberian ducks flying over thousands of sail boats loaded with timber, Golpata, fuel wood, honey, shell and fish further add to the serene natural beauty of the Sundarban. The Sundarban Reserved Forest (SRF), occupying an area of around 6,017 square kilometres or 600,000 hectares, represents 51 percent of the total reserved forest area of Bangladesh and as such forms a rich and diverse ecosystem with potential for sustainable natural resource management. Man has exploited the Sundarban for centuries but the forest was not given Reserve status by the Forestry Department until 1875. managed the forest and other natural resources of the SRF through adherence to management plans which it prepares at regular intervals. Early management simply concentrated on revenue collection and the enforcement of felling rules to reduce overcutting, particularly in the eastern portion. The first real professional forest management planning was introduced in the SRF in the early 1900s with the introduction of the Curtis Working Plan. However, more recently forest resource management has shifted to increase emphasis upon environmental and socio-economic issues. The following table presents the fractions represented by forest and other land types in the Sundarban.

FAMOUS SPOTS

The main tourist point is Hiron Point (Nilkamal) for watching tiger, deer, monkey, crocodiles, birds and natural beauty. Katka is for watching deer, tiger, crocodiles, varieties of birds and monkey. Morning and evening symphony of wild fowls. Vast expanse of grassy meadows running from Katka to Kachikhali (Tiger Point) provide opportunities for wild tracking. Tin Kona Island for tiger and deer. Dublar Char (Island) for fishermen. It is a beautiful island where herds of spotted deer are often seen to graze. Here land and water meet in many novel fashions, Wildlife presents many a spectacle. No wonder, you may come across a Royal Bengal Tiger swimming across the streams or the crocodiles basking on the river banks. With the approach of the evening herds of deer make for the darkling glades where boisterous monkeys shower Keora leaves from above for sumptuous meal for the former. For the botanist, the love of nature, the poet and the painter this land provides a variety of wonder for which they all crave.

SUNDARBAN’S WILDLIFE & NATURE

FAUNA & FLORA OF SUNDARBAN

ROYAL BENGAL TIGER

YOU CAN FIND ALL THE MOST POPULAR SPECIES

 

Bengal Tiger (bagh) one of the largest living cats on earth, belongs to family Felidae, order Carnivora. The Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is recognised as the national animal of bangladesh and is renowned as the Royal Bengal Tiger. Its body is rich yellow to reddish ochre in colour with vertically arranged black stripes, more pronounced towards the rump and thighs; its underparts are whitish. Its cubs are born with stripes. The yellow tail has a series of black rings and ends up with a black tip. The backside of the ears is black and has a clearly visible white spot. The animal has round pupils, retractile claws, head-body length 140-280 cm, and a tail measuring 60-110 cm. Its height at its shoulder is 95-110 cm; males weigh 180-280 kg and females 115-185 kg; the female is smaller.

DEER

LOVE WITH ANIMALS

 

Deer (harin) ruminant mammal of the family Cervidae, order Artiodactyla. All members of the family have more or less similar appearance and nature. The male has typically a pair of bony outgrowths of the skull, that is to say, the antlers that are shed and regrown each year. They are at first covered by the ‘velvet’, a soft hairy skin; the skin gradually dries and is rubbed off as the antlers mature. Most deer are forest dwellers and naturally shy. Of the five species available in Bangladesh, Sambar (Cervus unicolor) is the largest. The Maya Harin or the barking deer (Muntiacus muntjac) is the smallest. Other than the spotted deer of the sundarbans, the populations of other species have diminished alarmingly. Indiscriminate hunting, human interference, and habitat destruction have contributed to the decline of these valuable wildlife of the country. The deer are either nocturnal or diurnal animals and feed on grasses, leaves, flowers and fruits. They live mostly in small groups. Adults become sexually mature in 1-2 years. After a gestation period of 6-8 months in different species, one young, and rarely two, are born at a time.

CROCODILE

FOR THE LITTLE ONES WE OFFER THE ANIMALS AT OUR JOURNEY

 

Crocodile (kumir) any of the 13 species of large crocodilian reptile of the family Crocodylidae, order Crocodylia. They are mainly of tropical distribution occurring in the Old and New Worlds. The name Crocodile is sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to any crocodilian, including alligators and the gavial (=Ghadial). Bangladesh has one species of gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), and two species of crocodiles: Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and Marsh Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). A bumpy bony ridge can be seen in front of each eye, and extend forward nearly to the nasal swelling. Its post-occipital humps are absent or feebly developed; while its nuchal humps are arranged in a cluster. Dorsal scutes are arranged regularly in 16-17 transverse rows and 6-7 longitudinal rows. Body length may reach up to 10 m, but is usually about 5.5 m. It is more aquatic than Marsh Crocodile (C. palustris); and is seen even in the sea. Crocodiles roost during the day on well-marked trails led from water into mangrove forests and feed mainly on fish but may even hunt large animals. Mating of crocodiles start in winter and they lay eggs in May. During breeding season females make nests, usually 75 cm high and 2 m in diameter, with mounds of vegetation and mud. Number of eggs may be 20-72 (average 50); and the incubation period lasts for 80-90 days. Crocodiles live in the estuaries and coasts of the sundarbans. Habitat loss and hunting are the major threats to their survival. They are found also in S and SE Asia, Papua New Guinea and Australia (northern part).

MONKEY

LOVE WITH ANIMALS

 

Monkey (banor) old world monkey of the genus Macaca of the family Cercopithecidae, order Primates; widely distributed in southern Asia and northern Africa. These mammals are typically versatile, intelligent and social animals; most species are tree dwelling and herbivorous, but there is considerable variation in both habitat and diet. There are 10 species of primates in Bangladesh of which 5 are macaques. Except one all the 19 species of macaques that exist today in the world are widely distributed in Asia from Afghanistan to Japan, the Philippines, and Borneo. This species was once common in chakaria sundarbans and Teknaf areas in the Southeast, which is now a rare sight. The Rhesus Macaque adapts well to urban life and is often found in large groups around markets and temples. About 100 rhesus macaques are still surviving in the old part of the Dhaka city including Tantibazar, Banagram, Lalbagh, and Gandaria. This monkey is yellowish brown with a pale, naked face and a tail about half as long as the body. A large male may reach a body length of about 60 cm. It lives in social groups of 25-60 individuals in different habitats including forests and on rocky hillsides, ranging to high altitudes. An omnivorous feeder often raids cultivated fields and gardens. It has been widely used in medical and other scientific experiments; the Rh blood factor, found in humans as well as monkeys, is named for it.

BIRDS

FOR THE LITTLE ONES WE OFFER THE ANIMALS AT OUR JOURNEY

 

Birds are wonderful creature of nature. They have spread worldwide depending on feeding habit and favorable temperature. They have made the world colorful. With time, birds have adjusted themselves with various ecosystems. They can be found in every ecosystem of our country. Sundarbans is a unique ecosystem of our country. Many species of birds have adapted themselves with this unique ecosystem. Lesser Adjutant, Brown-singed Kingfisher, Ruddy Kingfisher, Buffy Fish Owl, Masked Finfoot, Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Whistler, Crested Hawk-Eagle etc. mentionable among birds of Sundarbans. These birds are not common in places other than Sundarbans. There are some birds that belong exclusively to the Sundarbans ecosystem. Besides beautification, these birds are also vital for the natural balance of Sundarbans. Most of the Sundarbans is muddy due to regular tidal flows. Such environment is home to numerous invertebrates and aquatic plants, which are important for birds’ feeding. As a result, various resident birds can be seen in here throughout the year. In winter, various Ducks and aquatic birds also join here. Sundarbans becomes a kingdom of birds. Warbler, Flycatcher, Sunbird etc. smaller birds roam in bushes and smaller plants. Red Jungle Fowls are also seen here. They mostly remain behind trees. But come out for feeding at dawn and dusk. Mangrove Pitta is a small bird of Sundarbans. They roam in bushes. Innumerable trees are there in Sundarbans. Asian Openbill, Eagle, Shikra, Vulture etc. bigger birds usually roam in large trees. Sometimes Parakeet, Pigeon and Bulbul are also seen on those trees. Brahminy Kite and Black Kite can be seen flying in here. Plover, Godwit, Curlew etc. aquatic birds roam in muddy soil of Sundarbans. Masked Finfoots are inhabitant of Sundarbans. They are not available anywhere else of Bangladesh. For they roam in mangrove forest (para bon), they are locally called ‘Para pakhi’. But since they look like Duck (Hash), they are also locally called as ‘Sundori Hash’ or ‘Goyla Hash’. They are coy bird and mostly roam alone. They forage for feeding around canals. Sometimes, they dive underwater to feed on small fishes, Snails etc. Lesser Adjutants are the biggest bird of Sundarbans. They are famous for their bald head. Their head to throat is covered with reddish-yellow skin and is featherless. For such structure, they can easily hide behind leaves while sitting on tree top. They mostly forage for feeding around wetlands. Kingfishers are the most common bird of Sundarbans. Colorful Kingfishers are expert fish hunter. Brown-winged Kingfisher, Ruddy Kingfisher, Black-capped Kingfisher and all other available species of Kingfishers of Bangladesh are found in Sundarbans. Brown-winged Kingfishers are common in here. Orange feathers of their chest make nature colorful. Kingfishers mainly feed on fishes. So they sit on trees around wetlands to look for feeding. Sometimes they forage for feeding by flying close to water. Ruddy Kingfishers are rare bird of Bangladesh. They are hardly seen outside Sundarbans. Copper color winged this aquatic bird’s bill and chest are bright red. Most of the time they remain in deep forest. Sometimes they fly around open wetlands for feeding. Black-capped Kingfishers are bluish-purple. Their black head on the white throat looks like cap. So they are called Black-capped Kingfisher. They are winter migratory bird. Mangrove Whistlers are rare resident bird of Bangladesh. They forage for feeding by flying branches to branches and keep whistling loudly. Buffy Fish Owls are nocturnal bird. This banded bird has whitish forehead. They look wonderful with their distinctive ear-tufts. Crested Hawk-Eagle is another bird of prey Sundarbans. They roam around large rivers of Sundarbans. Blackish-brown this bird sometimes becomes faded-brown. They forage for feeding by flying or sitting on trees. Many other birds of prey also live in Sundarbans. Sundarbans becomes colorful and sonorous with these birds. But for various manmade and natural changes, these birds are losing their food supply and breeding grounds. Birds are now endangered. There are no sufficient information and research work on birds of Sundarbans. If it continues like this, these birds will disappear from Sundarbans in near future. Sundarbans’ ecosystem will become unbalanced. Accordingly, we must take apt initiatives to conserve the birds of this World Heritage Site.

DOLPHINS

BANGLADESH DOLPHINS GET SUNDARBANS SANCTUARIES

 

Bangladesh is declaring three areas in the southern Sundarbans mangrove forest as dolphin sanctuaries to protect freshwater dolphins, officials say. Conservationists say the mangrove forest is the only place in the world where the Ganges river dolphins and Irrawaddy dolphins are found. These dolphins are among the world’s most endangered mammals. Fishermen normally do not target them, but the animals get entangled in fishing nets and drown. They are also threatened by rising salinity levels and pollution. “We have decided to declare Dhangmari, Chandpai and Dudhmukhi areas of eastern Sundarbans as dolphin sanctuaries so that these mammals can survive in a safe environment,” Tapan Kumar Dey, a senior wildlife conservation official, told the BBC. He said the three water segments were identified as dolphin hotspots by the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project (BCDP), which has been doing research in Bangladesh. ‘Clearly demarcated’ Mr Dey said an official notification on establishing the sanctuaries will be issued by the ministry of environment soon. “The waterways in these areas will be clearly demarcated and there will be signpostings so that local fishermen will not venture into this region for fishing,” Mr Dey said. Environmentalists say the diverse aquatic ecosystem of the Sundarbans support an impressive variety of cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises. While Ganges river dolphins find safe haven in the upper regions of Sundarbans, Irrawaddy dolphins thrive in the southern parts, which are closer to the Bay of Bengal. The decision by the forest department coincided with a new survey by the BCDP which, apart from freshwater dolphins, also reported sightings of the finless porpoises and an Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin in western Sundarbans. These two cetacean species, which are normally found along the coast, migrate upriver in Sundarbans mostly during winter, when the salinity level is high. They go back after fresh water starts flowing into the rivers. The nine-day survey was conducted in the western part of Sundarbans mangrove forests earlier this month. “This year we encountered many of them during the recent survey, soon after the rains when the salinity level is low. Their presence in this region at this time may be an indication of the rising salinity level,” Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli, principal researcher of the BCDP said. “Our preliminary results indicate that there is a high density of dolphin population in western Sundarbans as well and some areas there might also be identified as dolphin hotspots,” Mr Mowgli said, However, he warned that the identification of new dolphin hotspots does not mean the animals are thriving in Sundarbans. “Declining freshwater supplies and rising sea levels due to global climate change are affecting the dolphin population,” Mr Mowgli said. Two years ago, researchers found that there were nearly 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins – which are related to orcas or killer whales – in the waterways of Sundarbans mangrove forests and the nearby coastal waters of the Bay of Bengal.

GOLPATA

A PALM SPECIES, GROWS NATURALLY IN PATCHES

 

The Sundarbans of Bangladesh, facing the Bay of Bengal, is the largest single tract mangrove forest of the world. This natural forest has three water salinity zones such as less saline zone, moderate saline zone and strong saline zone. Golpata (Nypa fruticans), a palm species, grows naturally in patches along the stable banks of the rivers in larger proportions in the less saline zone of the Sundarbans. This species has been widely used by the people of the entire south-western part of the country for thatching dwelling houses. Experimental plantations of this species were established in the newly accreted lands along the banks of the rivers in three salinity zones of the Sundarbans to study its survival and growth. Four-month-old seedlings raised in the nursery bed were used. Data on survival and plant growth (average leaf length and leaf number) were collected after every three months for a period of 30 months. The highest survival (65.35%) and plant growth (leaf length 290.67 cm and leaf number 6.80) were observed in the less saline zone and the lowest survival (11.54%) and plant growth (leaf length 74.01 cm and leaf number 4.62) in the strong saline zone. This study shows that though golpata can be grown successfully in the less saline and moderate saline zones, it grows better in the less saline zone of the Sundarbans. However, golpata should not be planted in an area where heavy siltation occurs.

SUNDARI

SUNDARI OF SUNDARBAN

 

Sundari tree, one of the most extensively found mangrove species in the Sundarbans, are disappearing for various diseases, including ‘top-dying disease’ which has killed 15 percent trees since the 80s. In the last 30 years, 1.44 million cubic meter Sundari trees worth Tk 2,000 crore have been destroyed after being affected by ‘top-dying disease’, said experts. Increasing salinity in the water and soil of the Sundarbans due to climate change is another reason for which the number of Sundari, Passur and Keora trees has been declining fast. Gewa and Goran are being grown in the forest replacing Sundari trees.Gewa and Goran are now grown in 50 percent new places. There are 334 species of trees and plants in 4,143-sqkm area out of6,017 sqkm. According to experts, mangrove forest is grown in such a special natural environment where there is a mixture of specific proportion of saline water and sweet water. The change in the specific proportion of saline and sweet water causes harm to mangrove forest. Increase of saline water is fatal for Sundari trees, which is happening in the Sundarbans. Top-dying disease in Sundari, while heart-rot disease in Pashur and die-back disease in Kewara have been behind their fast extinction. ‘Top-dying’ and ‘Heart-rot’ disease attacked the tress in 6, 14, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 32, 33, 36, 37, 38, and 39 compartments of the forest. Noted water expert Ainun Nishat said Sundari trees have been dying due to the adverse effect of Farakka and lack of sweet water. “There are now 85.67crore Sundari trees in the forest which have been on extinction.” Md Bashirul-Al-Mamun, West Divisional Forest officer of the Sundarbans, said they found 30ppm salinity in the water which is decreasing the disease prevention capacity of the trees. Dr Swapan Sarker, an associate professor at the Forest Environment Science of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST),in a research work mentioned that the diversity in the Sundarbans took a heat during 1986-2014. The number of Sundari, Passur, Shingra, Amur, Dhundal and Kakra trees are on the decline.

HONEY COLLECTION

HONEY COLLECTION IN THE SUNDARBAN

 

The months of April, May and June are considered the natural period for honey collection in the mangrove forest The collection of wild honey from the Sundarbans has fallen so much over the past few years, traditional honey collectors known as the “Mawali” are no longer motivated to enter the forest in the allotted time. According to the Forest Department, a total of 723 quintal of wild honey was collected from the Burigoalini range in Sundarbans West Zone last year. The range is considered to be the largest honey collection zone in the mangrove forest. From the same range, 885 quintal was collected in 2015-16, 1030 quintal in 2014-15, and 1082 quintal in 2013-14. “In the last few years, those who are entering the forest at the government declared time, are getting less amount of honey,” Sirajul Islam, a Mawali from Datinakhali area under the Burigoalini range, told the Dhaka Tribune. Forest officials have blamed the reduced volume of honey on rising water salinity levels and the construction of mobile phone towers inside the forest. Experts believe the changing of the flowering time period during the natural collection months of April, May and June could also be a factor. The forest department only issues permits to the Mawali people for entering and collecting honey from the Sundarbans during this fixed timeframe. “The government should shift the official time period for honey collection ahead by 15 days, as honey production has been beginning earlier than usual,” Pavel Partha, an ecology and biodiversity researcher with 12 years of experience working in Sunderbans, said. “Many of the plants in the mangrove forest are dependent on honey for pollination. If the honey is not collected on a regular basis, the bees will become naturally lazy, and this could halt their movement as well as the pollination of plants.”

FISHING

FISHING ON SUNDARBAN

 

Sundarbans, the largest delta on the planet earth is famous for its marine and estuarine fish resources. A large population is dependent on fishery activity and capture fisheries is treated as the backbone of Sundarban economy. Sundarban boast around 172 species of fishes, 20 species of prawn and 44 species of crabs including two edible crabs. But fisheries in Sundarbans faces some difficult problems which have an impact on the biodiversity, sustainability and livelihood of fish resources and fisher folk viz. shrinking tiger prawn population, indiscriminate fish seed collection, lack of post harvest and other infrastructures, natural calamities such as cyclonic storms and low pressure in Bay of Bengal and seizure of fish trawlers by Bangladesh navy. Despite these problems, Sundarbans’ fisheries have good prospects of developing as both marine and inland fisheries resources are available in abundance. Setting up of new integrated fish harbours complete with cold storage facilities, packaging centers and modern fish markets at six places in the area and creation of International fish processing zone at Kolkata will give a good boost to the fisheries of Sundarbans.

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TOURIST SPOT

MOST POPULAR PLACES IN SUNDARBAN

SUNDARBAN, BANGLADESH

The main tourist point is Hiron Point (Nilkamal) for watching tiger, deer, monkey, crocodiles, birds and natural beauty. Katka is for watching deer, tiger, crocodiles, varieties of birds and monkey. Morning and evening symphony of wild fowls. Vast expanse of grassy meadows running from Katka to Kachikhali(Tiger Point) provide opportunities for wild tracking. Tin Kona Island for tiger and deer. Dublar Char(Island) for fishermen.  It is a beautiful island where herds of spotted deer are often seen to graze. Here land and water meet in many novel fashions, Wildlife presents many a spectacle. No wonder, you may come across a Royal Bengal Tiger swimming across the streams or the crocodiles basking on the river banks. With the approach of the evening herds of deer make for the darkling glades where boisterous monkeys shower Keora leaves from above for sumptuous meal for the former. For the botanist, the love of nature, the poet and the painter this land provides a variety of wonder for which they all crave

BEST SPOTS

  • HARBARIA
  • KOCHIKHALI
  • HIRON POINT
  • KOTKA
  • DIMER CHAR
  • DUBLAR CHAR
  • JAMTOLA
  • KARAMJAL

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