Exploring the Sundarbans, Bangladesh
The Sundarbans, reputedly known as the biggest single block of the tidal halophytic mangrove forest around the globe is situated in south-west Bangladesh. Located on the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta region, this site blends with the famous Bay of Bengal. Furthermore, the forest is located slightly towards the south of Tropic of Cancer and is between the latitudes 21°30’N and 22°30’N, and longitudes 89°00’E and 89°55’E. The site is known for its wide variety of wildlife and trees in the forest and it showcases its natural history. In addition to that, the forest is also home to economic activities, for instance honey collection, fishing as well as timber. There are about 200 islands here that are separated by 400 interconnected creeks, canals and tidal rivers.
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However, the Sundarbans has a crucial role to play when it comes to protecting several residents residing close to Mongla and Kulna against the natural calamities that occur due to cyclones. It is interesting to note that this forest region has qualified itself amidst the finalists of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
The Fishes and Wildlife to Explore:
When you reach the Sundarbans, you will come across a majority of fishes, for instance, the Star Fish, Sawfish, Barb, Electric Rays, Silver Carp, River Eels, Butter Fish and much more. An interesting fish you can note here is the Mudskipper, which can be described as a gobioid which is seen to jump out of the water right on to the mudflats and it sometimes also climbs the trees. Apart from the fishes in the forest you also get to explore other species such as the King Crabs, Skipping Frogs, Tree Frogs Chequered Kill backs, Olive Ridley turtles, Common Carp, Gangetic Dolphins, Hawks Bill Turtles, King Cobras, Prawn, Shrimps, Pythons, Rat Snakes, Common Toads and many more.
The Plant Species:
As recorded by David Prain back in 1903, there are a total of 245 general as well as 334 plant species in this forest. This mangrove forest in Bangladesh is mostly dominated by the Euphorbiaceae and the Malvaceae.
Birds that you get to see:
Simply put, the Avifauna i.e. the bird life here comprises of about 286 species that comprises of the threatened lesser adjutants, endemic brown-winged kingfishers and the masked fin foots. That isn’t all. You will also come across the prey birds such as the white-bellied sea eagles, ospreys, grey-headed fish eagles and other similar species as well. The Sundarbans in Bangladesh was assigned as the Ramsar site back in May 21st, 1992. The other well known birds that are found in this forest comprises of the black-headed ibis, red jungle fowls, water hens, open billed storks, cotton teals, marsh harriers, jungle babblers, coots, spotted doves, pheasant-tailed Jacanas, brahminy kites, pariah kites, swamp partridges, jungle crows, common mynahs and many others.
The Popular Reptiles in the Forest:
Being a mangrove forest, the Sundarbans National Park also has its collection of reptiles as well. Here you will get to check out the house geckos, dog-faced water snakes, estuarine crocodiles, green vine snake, Russell’s vipers, chameleons, green turtles, common kraits, monitor lizards, checkered keelbacks and many others. Other popular and often rare seen names comprise of the Indian Pythons, river terrapin, Asian water monitors Indian flap-shelled turtles, peacock soft-shelled turtles and many other resident species.
The Extinct and the Endangered Species in the Forest:
According to the forest inventories, there has been a reduction in the standing volume of two central mangrove species, namely the gewa and the Sundari by a good 45% and 40% respectively, between the years 1959 and 1983. Owing to the complete ban on the capturing or killing of the wildlife species in the forest barring the fishes and a few invertebrates, this rather seems that there has been a constant cycle of the exhausting biodiversity in the 20th century. It is said the ecological essence of the original mangrove forest is gradually thinning.
Even then the Sundarbans National Park in Bangladesh has its tourist appeal and fame! For cheap flights to Dhaka to visit this forest, you can browse godhakatravel.com and unlock affordable flight offers.
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