Sandarban: 10,269 square kilometers of “beautiful forests” are worth visiting!

Sandarban1Sandarban, which is translated like “beautiful forests”, is the greatest delta in the world, that occupies an area of 10,269 square kilometers. Like many other swampy areas, it suffers from over-exploitation and a growing human encroachment, which leads to the destruction of the natural environment. But recently, delta has finally received due recognition: India announced all their lands in Sandarbane to be the tiger reserves and completely closed the area of 1295 square kilometers, Bangladesh has also announced its entire forest as a region reserve, which nowadays involves three wildlife reserve areas of 324 square kilometers.

Sandarban4Sandarban0Delta is surrounded by dense mangrove forests with an area of ​​about 5957 square kilometers It is the largest remaining mangrove range of the world and the only one which is inhabited by tigers. Wild, thanks to the warm and humid climate, vegetation of these places has 334 species. The most interesting are the mangrove trees – 27 species and strikingly elegant tree of sundari, which gives its name to the area. Humid tropical maritime climate has created a unique plant complex in which plants from Southeast Asia, Polynesia, Ethiopia and New World come together to form a wonderful combination, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Sandarban2The exploitation of natural resources of mangrove forest by the local population threatens to its very existence. Logging is set on an industrial scale: wood is used for wood products, pulp and logs. Fisheries is of extremely great importance: quiet backwaters of the delta provide more 149,000 tons of fish per year. But not only a wide variety of fish species found the food here, this territory has also a nursery of young shrimp. Forest, in addition, gives local people a lot of honey and beeswax.

Despite such a tangible service, fauna of Sandarbana is still rich and varied, it has at least 35 species of reptiles, 40 species of mammals and over 270 species of birds. But no matter how impressive these figures, and they are backed by a significant loss: from the region it has completely disappeared some species such as the one-horned Javan rhinoceros, barasinga, water buffalo. Great-horned rhino, the numbers of which have already dropped to 1,700 individuals retreated to Brahman-maputry in north-eastern India and to the swamps of Central Nepal.

Sandarban5Sandarban is the last refuge for Bengal tigers, and although the number of certain species of its traditional food has already declined significantly. But as the scientists cannot save the animals from reputation of being the man-eating tigers, they are still under the threat of extinction. Quiet coastal waters of mangrove swamps and intricate maze of waterways have sheltered a great variety of reptiles and aquatic mammals, including three species of crocodiles, Indian otter, Gang dolphins and porpoises.

Sandarban indiaSandarban is also an important staging and wintering area for many shorebirds, gulls and terns. It is inhabited by a representative group of birds of prey, with more than 30 species, including tailed eagle, crested serpent eagle eagle, kite-fishing.

Magnificent, but at the same time rather fragile ecosystem of mangrove forest is under constant threat due to over-exploitation and human pollution, and because of the lack of freshwater inflows, which is leading to an increase in salinity and, consequently, to the oppression of the mangrove trees. One can only hope that the positive steps will be taken by the governments of India and Bangladesh, and will help to preserve this unique region.