Sundarbans Mangroves

About the Area

The Sundarbans is a vast complex of intertidal and estuarine areas situated on the border of India and Bangladesh where the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Mehgna rivers converge in the Bengal Basin.
Sundarbans means "beautiful forests," but the region may also have been named after the large number of Sundari trees that grow there in the salty coastal waters.

The area provides nursery grounds for many species of fish and invertebrates, including exploited species such as tiger prawns.

Despite the heavy use of the forest for timber, pulpwood, and fuelwood, the Sundarbans continues to support a diverse fauna of 35 species of reptile, over 270 birds and 42 mammals - including the last population of tigers inhabiting mangroves in the world.

Local Species

Tiger (Panthera tigris), Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Water monitors (Varanus salvator), Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta), and Jackal (Canis aureus) are among the many wingless inhabitants found in this ecoregion.

Bird species include little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger), Open-bill stork (Anastomus oscitans), Common pochard (Aythya ferina), White stork (Ciconia ciconia), and Common redshank (Tringa totanus).

Giant honeybee (Apis dorsata) is another native to this area. Although they once roamed here, today the Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) and the Wild buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) have been extirpated.

Threats
The harmful effects of sewage and industrial pollution plus continuing deforestation threaten the integrity of the Sundarbans.

Another problem is the effect of expanding agriculture due to which mangrove forests are cleared and irrigation canals are constructed in their place. Additionally, there is heavy pressure on the fisheries, including fishing along riverine tracts. The threat from offshore oil spills is also a serious one.

Resources

Size:
20,500 sq. km (8,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Mangroves

Geographic Location:
Southern Asia: along coast of Bangladesh and eastern India

Conservation Status:
Critical/Endangered

Quiz Time!

What do you know about the habits of Bengal Tigers?

Answer:
The Sundarbans are ruled by mighty Bengal tigers. These large, powerful animals usually live alone, and each one builds several dens throughout its territory. Bengals hunt at night and need a lot of space to find enough to eat. To satisfy their incredible appetites, they need about 30 kgs of meat at each meal, once every few days.

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