In this article, we will see all the important points about Sundarbans National Park. The history of Sundarbans can be tracked as far back as 200-300 AD. It is believed that the forests of Sundarbans were given to the locals by the Mughal Rulers to settle down. Later on during the 17th Century, locals were attacked by the Portuguese and Salt smugglers. After all these years of struggle, only remnants of past remains which can be traced at a place called Netidhopani.
Pre-independence, a large part of these forests were declared as “reserved” under Forest Act, 1865. Post-independence, it was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1977 and established as a national park on 4th May, 1984. In the year 1978, Sundarbans were declared a national park, and in 1973, they were declared a tiger reserve under Project Tiger.
Sundarbans National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Centre
- Sundarban National Park is part of the Sundarbans on the Ganges Delta, and adjacent to the Sundarban Reserve Forest in Bangladesh.
- The delta formed by the coming together of three main rivers – Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna. Apart from these three, there are three other rivers which forms the intriguing delta network of channels. More about Sundarban National Park.
- The park is composed of 54 small islands.
- The average altitude of the Park is 7.5m above the sea level.
- The average minimum and maximum temperature of the region around the park is 20°C and 48°C respectively.
- The delta is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal Tiger.
- The Sundarban National Park extends to an area of about 1355 Kms.
- There is rich diversity of flora and fauna inside the forests of Sundarbans National Park.
- According to an estimate, there are about 78 species of mangrove in these forests. Some of the common species of plants includes Sundari tree, Golpati, Champa, Dhundul, Genwa and Hatal.
- Saline and brackish water makes plant survival little difficult. Still there are about 64 species of plants which has learned to survive in theses conditions.
- It is also home to variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species, including the salt-water crocodile.
- The present Sundarban National Park was declared as the core area of Sundarban Tiger Reserve in 1973 and a wildlife sanctuary in 1977.
- On 4 May 1984 it was declared a National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed in 1987, and it has been designated as a Ramsar site since 2019.
- It is considered as a World Network of Biosphere Reserve (Man and Biosphere Reserve) from 1989.
- Sundarban has achieved its name from the Sundari tree.
- The Sundarban forest is home to more than 400 tigers.
- The Royal Bengal tigers have developed a unique characteristic of swimming in the saline waters, and are famous for their man-eating tendencies.
- Tigers cab be seen on the river banks sunbathing between November and February.
- Apart from the Bengal tiger, fishing cats, leopard cats, macaques, wild Boer, Indian grey mongoose, fox, jungle cat, flying fox, chital, are also found in abundance in the Sundarbans.
- Some of the aquatic animals found in the park are sawfish, butter fish, electric rays, silver carp, starfish, common carp etc.
- A species of river turtles called Batagur Baska (which are classified as endangered by the IUCN) are found on the Mechau Beach.
- Sundarban marshy environment is very much suitable for large number of reptiles which includes estuarine crocodiles, chameleons, monitor lizards, turtles etc.
- According to a recent economic assessment, it has been estimated that Sundarbans national park provides flow benefits worth ₹12.8 billion (approximately ₹50,000 per hectare of land) annually.