Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC (Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary)

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the Sundarbans delta of West Bengal, India. The Sundarbans delta is formed by the confluence of several rivers, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna, and it is known for its unique and diverse ecosystem.

The sanctuary features a diverse habitat that includes mangrove scrub, forest, and swamp areas. This unique ecosystem supports a wide range of wildlife and plant species.

The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. The mangrove forests in this area are critical for protecting the coastline from erosion and serve as a vital breeding ground for many marine species. The Sundarbans are particularly famous for their population of Royal Bengal Tigers.

Sajnekhali is a paradise for bird watchers. It is home to numerous avian species, including herons, egrets, kingfishers, and the famous masked finfoot. The area is also an important stopover for migratory birds during the winter months.

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary offers a fantastic opportunity for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers to experience the beauty of the Sundarbans ecosystem and observe a wide range of wildlife and bird species. October to March is considered the best time to explore the sanctuary.

Table of Contents

  • Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Location
  • Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary History
  • Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Area
  • Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary River
  • Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Flora
  • Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
  • Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Location

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the northern part of the Sundarbans delta in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, India. Specifically, it is situated at the confluence of the Matla and Gumdi rivers within the Sundarbans region. 

The sanctuary is part of the larger Sundarbans Reserved Forest, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest mangrove forests in the world.

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary is the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. This airport is approximately 112 kilometers (about 70 miles) away from the sanctuary. Travelers can reach Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary from the airport by road and boat.

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

The nearest railway station to Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary is the Canning Railway Station. Canning Railway Station serves as a transportation hub for travelers heading to the Sundarbans region, including Sajnekhali. From Canning Railway Station, you can continue your journey to the sanctuary by road and waterways.

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary History

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the Sundarbans delta of West Bengal, India, has a history linked to the conservation efforts and the recognition of the unique ecosystem it encompasses. Here is a brief history of the sanctuary:

1970s and Early Conservation Efforts: The Sundarbans, including the area that would later become Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary, had long been recognized for its ecological importance and biodiversity. In the early 1970s, there were increased efforts to protect and conserve this fragile ecosystem due to the rich wildlife, including the endangered Bengal tiger, and the vital role the mangroves played in protecting the coastline from erosion and cyclones.

Establishment as a Sanctuary: Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary was officially established as a protected area in 1976. It was designated as a sanctuary to provide a safe haven for various wildlife species, including tigers, and to preserve the mangrove habitat. This marked a significant step in the conservation of the Sundarbans ecosystem.

Recognition as a World Heritage Site: The Sundarbans, including Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 in recognition of its outstanding ecological significance and the need to protect this fragile and vital ecosystem.

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Area

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 362 square kilometers (140 square miles). This sanctuary a significant portion of the larger Sundarbans Reserved Forest, which is known for its vast mangrove forests, intricate waterways, and diverse wildlife.

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary River

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Matla River and the Gumdi River. This confluence of rivers is a prominent geographical feature of the sanctuary, and it plays a crucial role in shaping the unique ecosystem of the Sundarbans region. 

The sanctuary's location at the meeting point of these rivers contributes to the diverse habitats found in the area, which include mangrove scrub, forest, and swamp, providing a suitable environment for various wildlife species and plants.

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of flora, adapted to its unique mangrove ecosystem. Some of the notable flora found in the sanctuary include:

Sundari (Heritiera fomes): The Sundari tree is one of the dominant mangrove species in the Sundarbans and is known for its sturdy, stilt-like roots. The wood of the Sundari tree is highly prized for its durability and resistance to water, making it valuable for construction.

Keora (Sonneratia apetala): Keora is another important mangrove tree species in the sanctuary. It produces vibrant flowers and has adapted to thrive in brackish water.

Kankra (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza): This mangrove species is known for its distinctive prop roots and is often found along riverbanks and in tidal areas.

Khalsi (Aegiceras corniculatum): Khalsi is a small mangrove shrub that can tolerate high levels of salinity. It plays a role in stabilizing the soil along waterways.

Gewa (Excoecaria agallocha): Gewa is a mangrove tree known for its toxic sap. It helps protect the shoreline by preventing herbivores from feeding on its leaves.

Goran (Ceriops tagal): Goran is another mangrove tree species found in the sanctuary. It contributes to the overall diversity of the mangrove ecosystem.

Hantal Palm (Phoenix paludosa): This palm species is adapted to brackish water conditions and can be found in the Sundarbans.

These mangrove species are well-adapted to the challenging conditions of the Sundarbans, where they grow in saline water, muddy soil, and are regularly influenced by tidal actions. 

The mangroves in Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary play a critical role in stabilizing the coastline, protecting against erosion, and providing essential habitats for various wildlife species, including the iconic Bengal tiger and a wide variety of birds and aquatic life.

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

Which animal is famous in Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary?

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary is renowned for its diverse and unique fauna, which includes a variety of terrestrial and aquatic species. Here are some of the notable fauna found in Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary:


  • Bengal Tiger
  • Spotted Deer
  • Rhesus Macaque
  • Wild Boar
  • Fishing Cat


  • Spot-billed Pelican
  • Cotton Teal
  • Herring Gull
  • Caspian Tern
  • Grey Heron
  • Large Egret
  • Night Heron
  • Open-billed Stork
  • White Ibis
  • Osprey
  • Pallas’s Fish Eagle
  • White-bellied Sea Eagle
  • Grey-headed Fish Eagle
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Oriental Hobby
  • Brown Fish Owl
  • Curlew


  • Water Monitor Lizard
  • Olive Ridley Turtle

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. What is the Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary famous for?

A. Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for several reasons:

(i) Bengal Tigers: The sanctuary is renowned for being home to the iconic Bengal tiger. These tigers are adapted to the unique mangrove environment of the Sundarbans and are known for their swimming abilities. Sajnekhali offers visitors a chance to spot these elusive and endangered big cats.

(ii) Mangrove Ecosystem: Sajnekhali is located within the Sundarbans, one of the largest mangrove ecosystems in the world. The sanctuary showcases the remarkable biodiversity of this ecosystem, which includes various plant and animal species that have adapted to thrive in brackish water and tidal conditions.

(iii) Bird Watching: The sanctuary is a birdwatcher's paradise. It is home to a wide variety of avian species, including migratory birds that visit during the winter months. Bird enthusiasts can spot unique and rare species, such as the Spot-billed Pelican, Cotton Teal, and Herring Gull, among others.

(iv) Mangrove Interpretation Center: Sajnekhali features a Mangrove Interpretation Center, providing educational information about the Sundarbans' mangrove ecosystem, its flora and fauna, and the importance of conservation efforts.

(v) Nature Photography: The sanctuary's diverse wildlife, scenic waterways, and lush mangrove forests make it an excellent destination for nature photographers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary

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