(Last Updated on : 18/10/2010)
Wide-ranging preserves and national parks that have built here over the years enrich the Eastern region of India. Amongst them, Sundarbans Tiger Reserve deserves special mentioning. The reserve is situated to the southeastern province of Kolkata
, West Bengal. Very recently it has been declared to be amongst the World Heritage Sites.
The story of its formation is worth to take a note. This marshy area was partitioned in 1947comprising of a total area of more than 4,200 sq km. More than half of the mangrove forests of the Indian subcontinent form an integral part of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve. As per very recent survey that has been carried out, the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve covers an area of 2,585 sq km. Out of it, almost 1,000 sq km is made up of brooks and water bodies.
For the tourists to give the chance of fully exploring the beauty of the whole of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, special amenities are being arranged by the forest department. The best way to move around is to get in to a motorboat from places like Canning, Basanti, Gosaba or Sonakhali. A whole night spends in the midst of flowing rivers or at the periphery of a tidal creek, is worth an experience. One can watch closely the thick drapes of mangrove tresses, with the shy, stripped-down cat running here and there. According to official estimates, there are just about 250 tigers, and only one or two can be visible to the tourists who visit the place in great excitement with the high hopes of getting glance of these beautiful tigers. They are mostly seen near the thick water drenched forests. The Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is remarkable in the sense that it has nicely accommodated to the high saline water bodies. One can also see huge numbers of amphibians, roaming between islands. Also they are found slogging along the edge of a creek at low tides with its coat glistening with ooze, before getting disappeared into the dense forests.
The main variety in the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, tigers tend to come into conflict with the intruding human population. Before embarking into the forests, honey gatherers, woodcutters and fishermen treat the tiger as deity and sought his blessings. Although the disagreement at times threatens to confront all conservation work, the Project Tiger management is taking steps to alleviate the situation. Recommended measures include wired effigies in fishing boats.
Sunderbans Tiger Reserve is ideal abode of wild flora and fauna. About forty mammalian species are found .Few amphibians like the Jungle Cat, Leopard and Fishing Cat are quite significant. Boat trips can be thrilling, enabling a tourist to take a glimpse of Gangetic Dolphins, Clawless Otters, giant Estuarine Crocodiles and Fishing Cat, Leopard-cat, Jungle Cat, Common Palm Civet, Jackal, Gangetic Dolphin, Spotted Deer (Chital), Wild Boar, Clawless Otter, Crab-eating Mongoose, Rhesus Macaque. Quite a number of endangered species like River Terrapin are found to enjoy the wilderness of the park.
Birds are in bounty with a good range of waterside birds and several woodland species. Multitudes of birds migrate from the far off countries thus enriching the beauty of the reserve. Several birds throng the woodlands .Red Junglefowl, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Rufous Treepie, Greater Coucal, Blue-throated Barbet are amongst them. One can see catch sight of beautiful birds like Masked Fin foot, Asian Openbill, Lesser Adjutant, Greater Adjutant, Oriental Stork, Brown-winged Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, Ruddy Kingfisher.
The rattling of hunting birds, namely, Pallas`s Fish Eagle, Osprcy, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Pied Harrier are quite a common sight in Sunderbans Tiger Reserve.
Sajnekhali is the chief tourism sector. A handful of grounds have been built here for breeding herons. About four hundred fish species are found in the rivers, enduring the varying levels of salinity. Also there are near about fifty species of reptiles, namely, Estuarine Crocodile, Rock Python, King Cobra, Water Monitor, Olive Ridley Turtle, are found basking under the heat of the sun.
Sundarbans Tiger Reserve enriches all the lives of city dwellers of West Bengal
with its treasures and exuberances. . It hosts coastal preservation for wild creatures, by refining the intimidating world of tides and waves in its vicinity.