Faunal diversity of Sunderban Delta

                 The Sundarbans is a vast forest in the coastal region of the Bay of Bengal which is one of the natural wonders of the world. Located in the delta region of Padma, Meghna and Brahmaputra river basins, this unique forest area extends across Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Patuakhali and Barguna districts. The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the coastal environment. In 1997, Sundarban was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Sundarbans are trapped in the net, with small streams of marine streams, mud shores and mangrove forests, small-scale archipelago. 31.1 percent of the total forest area, which is 1,874 sq km, consists of riverbed, inlet, bill, and water. Forests, known for its self-contained Royal Bengal Tiger, as well as numerous species of animals, including Chital Deer, Crocodile and Snakes . According to the survey, 500 tigers and 30,000 chitra deer are now in the Sunderban area. On 21 May 1992, Sundarban was recognized as a Ramsar Site. Sundarban mangrove forest is the single largest home of the Royal Bengal Tiger(Panthera tigris ).

Sundarban is also the only mangrove forest in the world having the tiger as its indigenous population. As per 2004 census, the tiger population in Indian Sundarban is around There are 58 species of mammals, 55 species of reptiles and around 248 bird species. Sundarbans also harbors a good number of rare and globally threatened animals including Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodilus porosus ), Fishing Cat (Felis viverrina), Common otter (Lutra lutra), Water Monitor lizard (Varanus salvator), Gangetic Dolphin (Platinista gangetica ), Snubfin dolphin (Orcella brevirostris ), River Terrapin (Batagur baska ), marine turtles like Olive Ridley ( Lepidochelys olivacea ), Green Sea Turtle ( Chelonia mydas ), Hawksbill Turtle ( Eritmochelys imbricata ). Six species of Shark and Ray, which are found here, are included in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act. These indicate that Sundarban Reserved Forest is a natural biodiversity hot spot.

Other mammals comprise of Wild boars, Spotted deer, Porcupines and Rhesus macaque. Among the reptiles, the King cobra, the common cobra, Banded krait, Russells Viper comprise the community of venomous reptiles, while the Python, Chequered Kil-Back, Dhaman , Green Whip Snake and several other species constitute the non-venomous snakes.

By – Dr. Deepali Rana
Department of  Zoology
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital