Friday, May 19, 2023

Sunderban National Park

Sunderban National Park UPSC

The Sunderbans National Park is a national park, tiger reserve, biosphere reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Sunderbans delta in West Bengal, India. It is recognized for its unique and diverse ecosystem, which includes the largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world. 


The national park is part of the Sunderbans on the Ganges Delta and adjacent to the Sunderban Reserve Forest in Bangladesh. Sundarbans delta formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers.


Table of Contents

  • Sunderban National Park Location
  • Sunderban National Park History
  • Sunderban National Park Area
  • Sunderban National Park River
    • Ganges River (Hooghly River)
    • Matla River
    • Bidyadhari River
    • Raimangal River
    • Harinbhanga River
  • Sunderban National Park Flora
  • Sunderban National Park Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Marine Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptiles
    • Aqua Fauna
  • Top Things to do in Sunderban National Park
  • Sunderban National Park UPSC Questions


Sunderban National Park Location

Sunderban National Park is located in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, India. It is situated to south-west of the Bangladesh in the Sundarbans delta, which is formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers.


Sunderban National Park Nearest Airport:

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata Airport) is the nearest airport to Sunderban National Park, which is near about 100 kilometres away.

 

Sunderban National Park Nearest Railways Station:

The nearest railway station to Sunderban National Park is Canning. It is approximately 48 kilometers away from the Sunderban National Park.




Sunderban National Park History

The history of the Sunderbans National Park is closely intertwined with the region's ecological significance and the efforts to conserve its unique biodiversity. 


Here are some key highlights of the park's history:


Formation and Early History: The Sundarbans, meaning "beautiful forest" in Bengali, was formed through the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers. The region has a long history, with human settlements dating back to the 2nd century BCE. The forests of Sundarbans have been mentioned in ancient texts like the Ramayana and Mahabharata.


British Colonial Era: The British colonial rulers recognized the significance of the Sundarbans and declared it a reserved forest in the mid-19th century. They established forest management and introduced regulations to protect the valuable timber resources found in the area. In 1878, the Sundarbans Reserve Forest was formally established.


Formation of the Tiger Reserve: In 1973, the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve was officially established as part of India's Project Tiger initiative. The aim was to protect the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger, which was facing threats due to hunting and habitat loss. The Sundarbans Tiger Reserve was recognized for its unique mangrove ecosystem and its importance as a tiger habitat.


Wildlife Sanctuary Designation: In 1977, the Sundarbans Reserve Forest was designated as a wildlife sanctuary under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act. This designation aimed to provide legal protection to the diverse flora and fauna found in the region, particularly the endangered Bengal tiger. The wildlife sanctuary status signifies the importance of preserving and conserving the natural habitat and wildlife within the Sundarbans.


National Park Declaration: In 1984, the Sundarbans Wildlife Sanctuary was elevated to the status of a National Park. This upgrade recognized the exceptional ecological value and significance of the Sundarbans as a protected area. As a national park, it receives enhanced conservation measures and stricter regulations to safeguard its biodiversity and promote its long-term sustainability.


UNESCO World Heritage Site: In 1987, the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, acknowledging its outstanding universal value as a natural ecosystem and a habitat for the Royal Bengal Tiger.


Biosphere Reserve: In 1989, the government of India declared the Sunderbans as a biosphere reserve. This designation recognizes the area's ecological significance, including its unique mangrove ecosystem and the diverse flora and fauna it supports. Biosphere reserves aim to promote the conservation of biodiversity while also facilitating sustainable development and research activities.


UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves: In 2001, the Sunderbans was designated as a UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. This international recognition highlights the importance of the Sunderbans as a globally significant ecological site and acknowledges its efforts towards biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, and research.


Ramsar Site: In 2019, the Sunderban Wetland was recognized as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar designation signifies the ecological value of the wetland and its importance for migratory birds, biodiversity, and overall environmental sustainability. This recognition promotes the conservation and wise use of the Sunderban Wetland, ensuring its protection for future generations.




Sunderban National Park Area

In India, the Sundarbans National Park occupies an area of about 1,330 square kilometers (513 square miles). It is part of the larger Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve, which covers a total area of approximately 9,630 square kilometers (3,718 square miles) in India.


The Sunderban National Park is composed of 54 small islands and intersected by several distributaries of the Ganges river.




Sunderban National Park River

The Sundarbans National Park is crisscrossed by several rivers and waterways, which play a vital role in shaping the ecosystem and providing habitat for various wildlife.


Here are some prominent rivers and water bodies in and around the Sundarbans National Park:


(1) Ganges River (Hooghly River):

The Ganges River, known as the Hooghly River in West Bengal, forms the western boundary of the Sundarbans National Park. It is a distributary of the Ganges and serves as a major waterway for transportation and trade in the region.


(2) Matla River:

The Matla River is a significant river in the Sundarbans region. It originates in the south of the Sundarbans and flows through the heart of the national park, dividing it into two parts.


The Matla River is known for its rich biodiversity and serves as a lifeline for the mangrove ecosystem. It is a tributary of Bidyadhari River.


(3) Bidyadhari River:

The Bidyadhari River is another important river in the Sundarbans. It flows through the Sundarbans National Park, providing freshwater inflow into the mangrove forests. It joins the Raimangal River in the Sundarbans.


(4) Raimangal River:

The Raimangal River forms part of the eastern boundary of the Sundarbans National Park. It originates in Bangladesh and flows through the Sundarbans, eventually joining the Bay of Bengal. 


Raimangal River flow through South 24 Parganas district in the Indian state of West Bengal and Satkhira District in Bangladesh. The Raimangal River plays a crucial role in the hydrology of the region and supports various aquatic species.


(5) Harinbhanga River:

The Harinbhanga River is located in the southern part of the Sundarbans, forming the international boundary between India and Bangladesh. It flows through the Sundarbans before joining the Bay of Bengal. The Harinbhanga river is significant for both countries and contributes to the ecological dynamics of the region.



These rivers, along with their tributaries and distributaries, create a complex network of waterways in the Sundarbans National Park. They provide a unique habitat for various species, facilitate nutrient exchange, and support the mangrove ecosystem's overall health and productivity.




Sunderban National Park Flora

The flora of the Sunderbans National Park is diverse and unique, adapted to the brackish water and tidal environment of the mangrove forests. 


Here are some of the key flora species found in the Sunderbans National Park:


  • Sundari (Heritiera fomes)
  • Gewa (Excoecaria agallocha)
  • Goran (Ceriops decandra)
  • Keora (Sonneratia apetala)
  • Hetal (Phoenix paludosa)
  • Passur (Xylocarpus granatum)
  • Nypa palm (Nypa fruticans)
  • Dhundul (Xylocarpus mekongensis)
  • Kankra (Bruguiera gymnorhiza)


The mangrove forests of the Sunderbans National Park are not only important for their rich biodiversity but also serve as a vital buffer against coastal erosion and protect the surrounding areas from storm surges and tidal waves.




Sunderban National Park Fauna (Sunderban National Park Animals)

The Sunderbans National Park is home to a diverse range of fauna, including iconic and endangered species. The unique mangrove ecosystem of the Sunderbans provides habitat for various animals, both on land and in the water. 


Here are some of the notable fauna species found in the Sunderbans National Park:


Mammals:

  • Royal Bengal Tiger
  • Leopard Cat
  • Chital
  • Macaques
  • Wild Boar
  • Fox
  • Jungle Cat
  • Flying Fox
  • Pangolin
  • Indian Grey Mongoose
  • Fishing Cat


Marine Mammals:

  • Ganges River Dolphins
  • Irrawaddy Dolphins
  • Spinner Dolphins
  • Ganges River Dolphins
  • Chinese White Dolphins
  • Indo-Pacific Finless Porpoises
  • Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins
  •  Pantropical Spotted Dolphins 
  • Rough-toothed Dolphins
  • While Minke Whales
  • Bryde's Whales
  • False Killer Whales


Birds:

  • Common Kingfishers
  • Peregrine Falcons
  • Woodpeckers
  • Jungle Babblers
  • Cotton Teals
  • Herring Gulls
  • Caspian Terns
  • Gray Herons
  • Green Pigeons
  • Rose Ringed Parakeets
  • Paradise Flycatchers
  • Cormorants
  • Fishing Eagles
  • White Bellied Sea Eagles
  • Brahminy Ducks
  • Spotted Billed Pelicans
  • Large Egrets
  • Night Herons
  • Open Billed Storks
  • White Ibis
  • Water Hens
  • Coots
  • Pheasant Tailed Jacanas
  • Common Snipes
  • Wood Sandpipers
  • Pariah Kites
  • Brahminy Kites
  • Marsh Harriers
  • Swamp Partridges
  • Red Jungle Fowls
  • Spotted Doves
  • Common Mynahs
  • Jungle Crows


Reptiles:

  • King Cobras
  • Russels Vipers
  • Mouse Ghekos
  • Monitor Lizards
  • Curviers
  • Hawks Bill Turtles
  • Estuarine Crocodiles
  • Chameleons
  • Dog Faced Water Snakes
  • Green Turtles
  • Pythons
  • Common Kraits
  • Rat Snakes
  • Olive Ridley Turtles
  • Sea Snakes
  • Salvator Lizards
  • Hard Shelled Batgun Terrapins 
  • Water Monitor Lizard
  • Estuarine Crocodile


Aqua Fauna:

  • Shrimps
  • Common Carp
  • Crabs
  • Saw Fish
  • Electric Rays
  • Silver Carp
  • Star Fish
  • Prawn
  • Skipping Frogs
  • Common Toads
  • Butterfly Fish
  • Tree Frogs




Top Things to do in Sunderban National Park

When visiting the Sundarbans National Park, there are several exciting activities and experiences that you can enjoy. 


Here are some of the top things to do in the Sundarbans:


  • Wildlife Safari
  • Bird Watching
  • Village Walks
  • Boat Cruises
  • Nature Trails
  • Visit Watchtowers
  • Explore Wildlife Interpretation Centers
  • Experience Local Cuisine




Sunderban National Park UPSC Questions

Q Where is Sunderban National Park?/Sunderban National Park is located in which state?/Where is Sunderban National Park situated?

A. Sunderban National Park is located in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, India. 


Q. Sunderban National Park is famous for which animal?

A. Sunderban National Park is famous for Royal Bengal Tiger.


Q. Which river flows through Sunderban National Park?

A. Ganges (Hooghly), Matla, Bidyadhari, Raimangal and Harinbhanga river flows through Sunderban National Park


Q. In which year Sundarban declared as National Park of India?

A. In 1984, the Sunderbans declared as National Park of India.

Sunderban National Park

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