Sundarbans National Park, South 24 Parganas
With an area of approximately 1,330 sq kilometers, the Sundarbans National Park is one of the major habitats of the Bengal Tiger and a large number of wildlife and plant species. The terrain at Sundarbans mostly comprises of deltas and river channels covered with mangrove forests. The forests of Sundarbans are also known for a teeming population of saltwater crocodiles.
The entry point to Sunderban Tiger Reserve is either Sonakhali via Canning, or Bagna via Dhamakhali. For visiting South 24 Parganas Forest Division, on the western part of river Matla, the entry points are Namkhana, Raidighi or Jharkhali via Canning/Basanti.. Entry Permits are available at Canning, Sonakhali and Bagna for STR and at Canning, Namkhana and Raidighi for Western part of Sunderban Forest.
This project involves planting 150,000 mangroves in the periphery of Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal. Sundarbans is the largest deltaic mangrove forest in the world with an area of 10,200 sq km area of which 5937 sq km and 4263 sq km of Reserve forests are spread respectively over Bangladesh and India. The Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located at the mouth of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers between India and Bangladesh and its forest and waterways support a wide range of fauna including a number of species threatened with extinction. The mangrove habitat supports the single largest population of tigers in the world; the tigers have adapted to an almost amphibious life, being capable of swimming for long distances and feeding on fish, crab and water monitor lizards.
Sundarbans is home to many poor communities who are largely migrant and landless. Apart from external threats such as cyclones, floods and sea level rise,the premature and ill-planned establishment of settlements, rapid population growth and absence of industries and local employment opportunities along with habitat destruction are creating more demand on the natural resources (fisheries, water, forests, agricultural soil and land) which are already under stress and threatening the livelihoods of the already marginalized communities and particularly women, who play an important role in ensuring household livelihood security. In the absence of both personal and social security and due to the breakdown of traditional practices, the natural resource base on which the people depend for their livelihood, is being overexploited and suffering further degradation.
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, found that mangroves in North America demonstrably boost fishery yields by an average of about $37,500 per year per hectare.
The planting of mangroves around villages in the Periphery of the National Park will create jobs in the nursery and planting activities, directly support rural livelihoods, improve fisheries catch, provide flowers, fruit, fodder and fuel to rural communities and living creatures, generate oxygen, reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, fight climate change, and benefit wildlife including the endangered Tiger.
Flora & Fauna:
The tree species planted here include jat bain, payara bain, kalo bain, kankra, garjan, pasur and math garan.
The animals species found here include the tiger, fishing cat, spotted deer, wild boar, jungle cat, rhesus macaque, otter, pangolin and fox. The crocodile, python Gangetic dolphin and marine turtles are also found here.
The bird species found here include the small minivet, black-hooded oriole, mangrove whistler, cinnamon bittern, swamp francolin, grey-headed fishing eagle, brown fish owl, osprey, purple sunbird, pale-billed flowerpecker, loten’s sunbird, striated babbler, striped tit-babbler, brown-cheeked fulvetta, lemon-rumped warbler, brown-winged kingfisher, purple heron, fulvous-breasted woodpecker, northern eagle owl.