Wildlife SanctuaryArea :
Sunderbans National Park, India,
hectares (core) and 88,527 hectares (buffer).
1973 as a tiger reserve, 1978 as a national park.
Some believe that the name Sunderbans is derived from
'Sundri' - a plant found in the local mangroves - and 'bans' meaning forest.
Others believe the name means 'beautiful forest' ('sunder' = beautiful, and
'bans' = forest). The Sunderbans, extending over an area of 1,000,000
hectares, is the world's largest delta, formed by the Ganges, Brahmaputra
and Meghana rivers. The region has extensive mangrove forests and the
contours are in a constant state of flux, caused by the monsoon flooding
each year. Roughly a third of the delta is water, consisting of rivers,
channels and tidal creeks up to 5 kilometres wide. The Sunderbans falls both
within the India and Bangladesh, the latter having the larger share of the
delta. On the Indian side there is a national park overlooking the Bay of
The Sunderbans West, South and East wildlife sanctuaries in Bangladesh
are also at the southern extremities of the delta. The Sunderbans parks are
covered in mangrove forests of which there are 3 main zones, depending on
the level of salt in the soil and water a freshwater zone, a moderately
saline zone, and a saline zone. Fishing, timber extraction and honey
collection are the main human activities allowed within the Sunderbans. The
four Sunderbans national parks have been lumped together as they all share
common features of the estuarine mangrove ecosystem. The main attractions of
the Sunderbans are the Tiger, of which the delta harbour large reptiles like
the Monitor Lizard, Estuarine Crocodile and the Olive Ridley Turtle, for
which there is a conservation programme in the Indian park. The Leopard,
Indian Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros, Swamp Deer, Hog Deer and Water Buffalo
have all become locally extinct from the delta in recent decades.
The best time to visit Sunderbans is during winters between September and
Sunderbans are not easily accessible. To get to the Sunderbans national park
in India the nearest airport is Calcutta, the nearest railway station is
Canning, and the nearest town is Gosaba. From the park headquarters at
Canning take the country motor launch (5 hours) to Sajnekhali.
There are regular bus services from Kolkata (Calcutta) to this place. But
the main areas of the sanctuary can only be accessed by riverine waterways.
The best and the safest way to visit Sunderbans is on conducted tours. One
can also avail the services of the private vessels from Canning, Gosaba or
Accommodation in the sanctuary is available, in
the comfortable tourist lodges. Sajnekhali has a 60 bed tourist lodge.
Overnight facilities are also available at Bakkhali and Piyali. In the
Sunderbans there is a basic Tourist Lodge at Sajnekhali run by Bengal
Tourism. Transport within all the parks is by motor launch and boats as the
entire mangroves are subject to daily inundation by the high tides from the
|| Ganges Dolphin
||Small Indian Civet
||Oriental Small-clawed Otter
||Indian Palm Squirrel
||Indian Grey Mongoose