Mystical and Mysterious Sunderbon National Park
The Sundarbans are mystical and mysterious, dangerous but beautiful. In the morning the region is bright and ‘normal’, but the setting sun turns it into a faintly glowing, green, pristine land time appears to stand still.
The Sunderbon delta, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, is home to the world’s largest mangrove forest and a dynamic ecosystem of 108 islands interspersed with tidal rivers and narrow creeks. Stretching across more than 10,000 km2 in the state of West Bengal and into Bangladesh
In addition to the unique ecosystem it is also known as the mysterious realm of the endangered and occasionally man-eating Royal Bengal tiger and many amphibians, reptilians, fish and mammals as well as more than 180 bird species.
Sundarbans is the only Mangrove habitat of the Royal Bengal Tigers
The “Sundri” tree (Heritiera fomes), growing here give the Sundarbans its name. They are specially adapted with features like stilt roots for support, pneumatophores for respiration, viviparous germination, succulent leaves, etc.
The unusual landscape of the Sundarbans eco-region features a dense network of mudflats, tidal channels, and creeks separating islands large and small is the world's largest contiguous and most diverse mangrove forest and the only one of its kind is “home” to the swamp, estuarine crocodiles, sharks and snakes.
The “Different” tigers of Sunderbon
The tigers of Sunderbon are regarded as the world's most secretive tiger population as only a fleeting glimpse of these majestic predators along the banks of the waterways. The Sundarbans tigers also swim an average of around five water channels with a mean width of 54 m per day.
“The Sundarbans is a unique tiger habitat that is swampy, extremely humid, constantly under the influence of tides, has no large-bodied mammalian prey and lacks freshwater sources apart from some temporary pools during monsoon. These features have chiseled the characters that make Sundarbans tigers different from all other Royal Bengal tiger populations. Its small, stocky, and muscular frame; coarse and short coat and deep reddish-brown coloration are all adaptations to survive in this hostile habitat. Witnessing a tiger swim deceptively fast across a brackish-water channel, against a rapidly receding tide, is a sight to behold. Seeing it emerge from the water and move with consummate ease through knee-deep slush, leaving behind a trail of deep pugmarks, transports you back in time- to the era of dinosaurs. I have always been in awe of tigers, but seeing one in this mythical, mangrove-laden habitat increased my respect for these hunters exponentially" said Dr. Anish Andheria, India’s leading wildlife conservationist and President, Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), India.
The “man eating” tigers of Sunderbon
Sundarbans tiger population has been associated with human-killing incidents more than any other tiger population in the world.
In other tiger habitats in India, tigers hunting humans are rare and are usually either old or injured tigers. In the Sundarbans, however, both healthy and old tigers were found to treat humans as prey.
Reducing Human-Animal Conflict
Sunderbon is surrounded by human settlements with millions of people and a very high population density of about 1,000 persons per sq. km. The villagers here face extremely tough and dangerous life choices.To make a meagre living, they enter into tiger territory, some with legal permits and others illegally, to collect a range of forest produce like honey, fish, wood. leading to terrible results.
Nylon fencing along the forest fringes facing the villages have been a effective deterrent for the tigers to move to the villages. The forest department and NGOs working in the region are striving to provide the people with alternative sources of livelihood to reduce their dependence on the forest produce.
Tiger Response Team formed by the local people helps the Forest Department to mitigate the conflict by driving the stray tiger from village to forest.
Folklore and Local life
The area is steeped in mystical tales of Bonobibi (Goddess of the Jungle) and Dakshinrai (God of the Tigers), where folklore, struggle and danger has integrated in the life of the locals living in the villages and engaged in dangerous professions like honey collection, catching shrimps in the crocodile and shark infested creeks and rivers.
Tour of Sunderbon
In a landscape dominated by great tidal creeks and waterways, the only way to access and enjoy the area is on motorized boat.
Our tour takes you to the heart of the land where you explore the village life and cruise through the rivers in search of the elusive tiger. We take our guests on a journey which will uncover the mystical tales of Bonobibi (Goddess of the Jungle) and Dakshinrai (God of the Tigers) of the area; our guests will discover how folklore, struggle and danger has integrated itself into the daily life of the locals.
We operate Natural History Tours. We do not promise Tiger sighting though there is always a chance to encounter the King of the forest whilst you are on a cruise or at the watch tower.
Tiger sighting cannot be guaranteed in such a vast, remote and difficult terrain where visitors hardly have any opportunity to walk on the forested lands. We welcome all to our Natural History tour for a great learning experience and a mutual education. Our project and tour are environmentally responsible and have strong conservation and benefit sharing pledge.