A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sundarbans National Park is a magnificent tangle of mangrove jungle that's the only one of its kind in the world. It's spread over 54 islands and extends into neighboring Bangladesh. Part of the Sundarbans is home to a 2,585 sq kilometer (1,606 sq mile) Tiger Reserve, which includes a 1,330 sq kilometer (826 sq mile) national park.
The Sundarbans has three wildlife sanctuaries, one within the national park at Sajnekhali, as well as south of the park at Lothian Island and Haliday Island. In addition to tigers, the area is full of reptiles, birds, and other animals such as monkeys, wild boar, and deer.
Wildlife of Sunderbans:
The Sunderbans forest is home to more than 250 tigers. The Bengal Tigers have adapted themselves very well to the saline and aqua environs and are extremely good swimmers. As you enter the adventurous wild land of the Sunderbans you'll be thrilled to see the chital deer and rhesus monkey. The aqua fauna of Sunderbans include a variety of fishes, red fiddler crabs and hermit crabs.There are crocodiles, which can be often seen along the mud banks. Sunderbans National Park is also noted for its conservation of the Ridley Sea Turtle. There is an incredible variety of reptiles also found in Sundarbans, which includes king cobra, rock python and water monitor. The endangered river Terrapin, Batagur baska is found on the Mechua Beach, while the Barking Deer is found only in Holiday Island in Sunderbans.
The Ecological System in the Sundarbans National Park:
The Landscape in the Sundarbans National Park
The area that makes up the Sunderban National Park is the largest estuarine mangrove forest in the world. With the altitude averaging at 7.5 m above sea level, there is hardly any highland variation throughout the park at the Sundarbans. The park is dotted with 54 small islands that are networked by many tributaries of the mighty rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra, which finally flow out at the southern tip into the Bay of Bengal.
The Flora in Sundarbans National Park
The main forest cover in the Sunderbans comprises of estuarine mangrove forests intermixed by swamp and littoral forests. There is mangrove scrub forest, salt water mixed forest, brackish water mixed forest and alluvial grasslands. Due to the dense and huge forest reserve, Sundarbans has also been classified as a World Biosphere Reserve. Some of the more commonly found plants and trees in the park are Genwa, Dhundal, Passur, Garjan, Kankra and Goran.
The Fauna in the Sundarbans National Park
The Sundarbans forest is home to more than 400 tigers. The Royal Bengal Tigers have adapted themselves very well to the saline and aqua surroundings and are extremely good swimmers.
The animal number of the Sundarbans is quite varied keeping it's climatic conditions in mind. Apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger, Sundarbans houses - Fishing Cats, Macaques, Wild Boar, Common Grey Mongoose, Fox, Jungle Cat, Flying Fox, Indian Pangolin, Chitals, etc.
The Avifauna in the Sundarbans National Park
Due to climatic conditions popular at the park, it creates an ideal habitat for the native as well as migratory birds of a numerous variety. Some of the more popular birds found in this region are - Open Billed Storks, White Ibis, Water Hens, Coots, Pheasant Tailed Jacanas, Pariah Kites, Brahminy Kites, Marsh Harriers, Swamp Partridges, Red Jungle Fowls, Spotted Doves, Common Mynahs, Jungle Crows, Jungle Babblers, Cotton Teals, Herring Gulls, Caspian Terns, Gray Herons, Brahminy Ducks, Spotted Billed Pelicans, Large Egrets, Night Herons, Common Snipes, Wood Sandpipers, Green Pigeons, Rose Ringed Parakeets, Paradise Flycatchers, Cormorants, Fishing Eagles, White Bellied Sea Eagles, Seaguls, Common Kingfishers, Peregrine falcons, Woodpeckers, Whimprels, Black-Tailed Godwits, Little Stints, Eastern Knots, Curlews, Golden Plovers, Pintails, White Eyed Pochards and Whistling Teals.
The Aquafauna in the Sundarbans National Park
Some of the fish and amphibians found in the parks are Saw Fish, Butter Fish, Electric Rays, Silver Carp, Star Fish, Common Carp, Crabs, Prawn, Shrimps, gangetic Dolphins, Skipping Frogs, Common Toads and Tree Frogs.
The Reptiles in the Sundarbans National Park
The Sundarbans National Park has an excellent number of reptiles that are seen within its area. Some of the most seen are - Olive Ridley Turtles, Sea Snakes, Dog Faced Water Snakes, Green Turtles, Estuarine Crocodiles, Chameleons, King Cobras, Salvator Lizards, Hard Shelled Batgun Terrapins, Russels Vipers, Mouse Ghekos, Monitor Lizards, Curviers, Hawks Bill Turtles, Pythons, Common Kraits, Chequered Killbacks and rat Snakes
Boats can be hired for around 600 rupees ($14) for half a day and 1000 rupees ($23) for a full day. A guide costs around 300 rupees ($7), and a boat permit 50 rupees ($2.30). The entrance fee for the national park is 150 rupees ($3.50), as well as 20 rupees (50 cents) for a camera and 300 rupees ($7) for a video camera. Tour operators offer fully inclusive packages from 1400 rupees ($32) to over 5000 rupees ($120) per person, depending on the duration (one or two nights) and standard of accommodations.
How to reach Sundarbans National Park
Sundarbans National Park is located in south eastern fringe of Indian state West Bengal and part of Sundarbans Reserve Forest. The adjacent inhabited areas of Indian part of Sundarban are well connected with Kolkata by both roadways and railways.And kolkata is well connected with big cities in India by Road, Rail and Air. Kolkata is also connected with Bangkok, Singapore, Hongkong,Kathmandu, Dhaka etc. by Air.
Places connected with Kolkata and from where a motor boat take you to Sundarban National Park.
Godkhali Port- located just opposite of Gosaba Island and Gosaba is the last inhabited islands towards Sajnekhali Wild life sanctuary and Sundarban Tiger project area of Sundarban reserve forest. The shortest route distance to Godkhali port from Kolkata is 82 km and 95 km from Kolkata airport (Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport).
Koikhali- koikhali is nearer to the Haliday wildlife sanctuary and Tourists attractions like Bonnie camp, Kalas Island and beach, Haliday Island etc. of Sundarban reserve forest. Koikhali is 83 and 92 km away from Kolkata and Kolkata airport respectively.
Namkhana- Namkhana is 117 km away from Kolkata and 123 km away from Kolkata Airport. Namkhana is also connected with railway from Kolkata and distance is 109 km. This place is closer to Bhagabatpur crocodile project and Lothian wildlife sanctuary of Sundarban.
Canning- Nearest Railway head to Sundarban Tiger Reserve in Canning. Railway distance from Kolkata to Canning is 45 km and 29 km away from Godkhali Port. Public transportation available between Canning and Godkhali port.