1. tourismnewsbd.com (Largest tourism news portal in Bangladesh) http://tourismnewsbd.com The Sundarbans: Worlds largest mangrove forest where lives the Royal Bengal Tiger The Sundarbans (meaning beautiful forest in Bengali language), the largest single area of tidal mangrove forest in the world, lies in the natural delta of the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna. Although it is shared by both India and Bangladesh, 60% of its total area are in Bangladesh. The Sundarbans is about 6200 square kilometers in area and accounts for slightly less than 5% of total land area of Bangladesh. In 1997, UNESCO listed the Bangladesh part of the mangrove forest as The Sundarbans. Its beauty lies in its unique natural surroundings. Thousands of tortuous streams, creeks, rivers and estuaries have enhanced its charm. The Sundarbans is situated at the southwest region of Bangladesh in the districts of Bagerhat, Khuna and Satkhira. The name of Sundarbans originates from its major tree, Sundari, which is found in abundance in this forest. Some say, its name comes from Samudraban (forest in the sea). This huge Sundarbans is intersected by a network of numerous branches and tributaries of rivers creating muddy lands, and interspersed by small islands of salt tolerant mangrove forests. Various scientific studies reveal that the Sundarbans is home to 35 mammal, 270 bird, 400 fish and 35 reptile species. The forest is well known for the Royal Bengal Tiger, famous for its yellow coat with black stripes and majestic movement. Additional, the forest is home to numerous flora and fauna including species of local and migratory birds, reptiles and mammals. A total of 334 plant species were also recorded to grow here. The main draw for tourists are the Royal Bengal Tigers, but one can also spot Saltwater Crocodiles, various primates, leopards, King Cobras around numerous small water bodies. The Genetic River Dolphin (Platanista gangeticus) is common in the rivers. No less than 50 species of reptiles and eight species of amphibians are known to occur. The Sundarbans now support the only population of the Estuarine or Salt-Water Crocodile (Crocodylus parasus) in Bangladesh,
2. tourismnewsbd.com (Largest tourism news portal in Bangladesh) http://tourismnewsbd.com and that population is estimated at less than two hundred. One can also see spotted deer flocking together for drinking water along the banks of canals and rivers inside the forest. Unfortunately some of the rare species of fauna and flora are being threatened by human activities and natural disasters. The endangered species of animals such as the estuarine crocodile, python and the iconic Bengal tiger are of concern for nature lovers and scientists. Since 1966, the Sundarbans have been a wildlife sanctuary and an unconfirmed count of tigers in the Sundarbans estimates that the total tiger population falls below 400 now. The area of the Sundarbans is also declining at an alarming rate due to ever changing salinity of water, soil texture, tidal actions as well as ecological factors arising out of increasing biotic pressure. This has created a wide range of ecological and socio-economic problems in the region, leading to crisis in the livelihood of the poor and marginalized people. Climate change effects like the sea level rise and lower freshwater flow in winter resulted in increased salinity in the area. As a result the conservation of the Sundarbans mangroves is threatened. The Bangladesh government has taken initiatives in protecting and conserving natural resources and biodiversity of the Sundarbans. Three wildlife sanctuaries were established in 1977 under the Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) (Amendment) Act, 1974. The Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan (BTAP) marks the beginning of a structured approach to achieving long-term conservation of tigers in Bangladesh. The vision is to ensure protected tiger landscapes in Bangladesh with the main goal for the next years to stabilize or increase the Sundarbans tiger population. Government of Bangladesh is also working towards preserving the bio diversity of the Sundarbans. It has plans to set up an eco-park, ensure reserve forest management and restoration of communication system involving people in the area. Government of Bangladesh has already banned construction in the Sundarbans area and taken up plans for dredging of canals and rivers. Initiatives are being taken to promote ecotourism. The International community has also come forward to its rescue. A few projects have been undertaken in cooperation with the EU and USA to promote conservation of the Sundarbans Reserve Forests and wildlife sanctuaries. If you visit the Sundarbans it may be a lifetime charm for you. The main attractions would be wildlife photography including photography of the famous Royal Bengal Tiger, wildlife viewing, boating inside the forest, meeting fishermen, wood-cutters and honey-collectors and revering peace and tranquility in the wilderness. The famous spots in Sundarbans are, Hiron Point and Katka for tiger, deer, monkey, crocodiles, and various birds. If you are into fishing and bird watching, Dublar Char is the place for you. Water transport is the only means of communication inside the Sundarbans. Come and enjoy the wonder of the nature!