A recently published study the- “Birds of Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve ‘ by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) highlighted that the Indian Sunderbans is home to 428 bird species.
About Indian Sunderbans:
- Indian Sunderbans covers an area of 4,200sq km.
- It comprises of 2,585 sq km of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve- which is home to 96 Royal Bengal Tigers (as per latest census of 2020).
- It is also a world heritage site and Ramsar Site.
- The publication has been compiled by three scientists — Kaliash Chandra, Director ZSI, Gopinathan Maheshwaran, head of the bird section of the ZSI and Amitava Majumda
- It is a mangrove area in the Delta formed by the rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna in the Bay of Bengal.
- It covers the area from the Hooghly River in West Bengal to the Baleswar River in Bangladesh over an area of about 10,000 km2.
- It comprises of closed and open mangrove forests.
- The land of the Sundarbans is used for agricultural purpose, mudflats and barren land.
Special Birds in Sunderbans:
- Out of the 428 birds listed, some, like the Masked Finfoot and Buffy fish owl, are recorded only from the Sunderbans.
- The area is home to nine out of 12 species of kingfishers found in the country as well as rare species such as the Goliath heron and Spoon-billed Sandpiper.
Protected Areas in Sundarbans
- The Four protected areas in the Sundarbans have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- They are Sundarbans National Park, Sundarbans South Sundarbans West and Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuaries.
Indian Sundarbans were labelled as endangered under the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems framework in 2020.
Flora and Fauna
- The Sundri Tree and gewa tree are the most abundant tree species.
- The mangroves forests provide habitat to several faunal wildlife. It includes 428 species of birds, 120 fish, 42 mammal, 35 reptile and 8 amphibian species.
The Sundarbans National Park
- It is a national park, tiger reserve, and biosphere reserve situated in the state of West Bengal.
- It is part of the Sundarbans on the Ganges Delta.
- It is situated adjacent to the Sundarban Reserve Forest in Bangladesh.
- It is covered by mangrove forests.
- It is considered as one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger.
- The national park was declared as the core area of Sundarban Tiger Reserve in the 1973.
- It was also declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1977.
- While in the year 1984, it was declared a national park.
- The park is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Ramsar site since 2019.