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Sundarban - The pride of Bengal

The word “Sundarban” most probably comes from the Bengali words for “beautiful forest” or a "Sundari Tree". A large part of the forest is made up of Sundari trees. The Sundarban mangroves surround the Ganges delta and it has the largest mangrove world in the world. One third of the area belongs to India, two thirds to Bangladesh – the mangrove trees don’t care much about borders, and neither do the animals living there. Everywhere you can see their roots coming up through the soil; as the soil is very muddy, almost no oxygen comes through and this is the way the trees can still breath. The Sundarbans was declared as a Reserve Forest in 1875. About 32,400 hectares of the Sundarbans have been declared as the wildlife sanctuaries, and came under the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. These wildlife sanctuaries were established in 1977 under the Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) (Amendment) Act, 1974.These are Sundarbans West (9,069 ha), Sundarbans South (17,878 ha), & Sundarbans East (5,439ha).

Explore the virgin forests of Sunderbans blessed by nature with a rare beauty. Sunderban spreads over 54 islands and two countries (India's West Bengal and Bangladesh) and is part of the world's largest delta region. The core area is 1330 sq.kms and is a national forest and UNESCO world heritage site. Sundarban is famous for Royal Bengal Tiger. It is the largest Mangrove forest in world.

Local Life:- Around 5000 local fisher men are dependent on this salty water of Sundarban. They can catch fish only in buffered area and with the permission of the authority. Similarly honey hunting is allowed in the buffer zone only during the months of April and May. Administrative boundary of the Sundarban is spread over two districts i.e. North 24-Parganas and South 24-Parganas, covering 19 blocks as under: South 24 Parganas - Sagar, Namkhana, Kakdwip, Patharpratima, Kultali, Mathurapur-I,II, Jaynagar-I,II, Canning-I,II, Basanti, Gosaba North 24 Parganas - Hingalganj, Hasnabad, Haroa, Sandeskhali - I,II, Minakhan. The extent of mangrove Reserve Forests in Indian Sundarban is around 4260 sq km, out of which 55% is under land vegetation cover and balance 45% is under water body/ inter-tidal zone. Nearly 40% of the Reserve Forest area has been brought under Protected Area (PA) network, as follows:- Area of Sundarban National Park = 1330 sq km Area of Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary = 362 sq km Area of Lothian Wildlife Sanctuary = 38 sq km Area of Holiday Wildlife Sanctuary = 6 sq km.

Some important news about Sundarban reserve forest :

Sundarbans Algae Rich In Food Value: The Sundarban is not all about tigers and tidal creeks . In fact, there could be much more to the mangrove forest than has so far been discovered, suggests research by the School of Oceanography, Jadavpur University.

Mystery Cat In Sundarban May Be New Species: A Mysterious cat has been captured outside of the core area of Sundarban mangrove forests during the camera trap exercise between January 23 and March 18 conducted by WWF-India and Bengal forest department in the South 24-Parganas . The camera trapped two tantalizing images of a never-before-seen cat along with 18 Bengal tigers. It is black in colour with a long tail yellow strip in whole body. It is bigger than a wild cat and smaller than a leopard. It could be another species altogether. It is great news for animal lovers and wild life enthusiasts.

Endangered turtles bred in Sundarbans: Sundarban has successfully bred one of the most endangered species of turtles, the Batagur Baska, for the first time in captivity. As per official source 25 baby Batagur turtles were hatched at the interpretation centre in Sajnekhali.