Sundarbans and Environment Perspective- First Compendium of Animal Species in Indian (Important) (Download PDF)

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Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) published compendium “Fauna of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve in Indian Sundarbans” . First of its kind compendium in India. Consolidates information of faunal diversity of Sundarbans.

Map of Sundarbans Environment

What Are Sundarbans- Environment Perspective?

  • Complex of intertidal and estuarine areas situated on the border of India and Bangladesh made by basins of Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Mehgna rivers.
  • Named after the large number of Sundari trees in the salty coastal waters.
  • Nursery grounds for many species of fish and invertebrates, including exploited species such as tiger prawns.

Important Local Species

Sundarbans supports a diverse fauna of 35 species of reptiles, over 270 birds and 42 mammals - including the last population of tigers inhabiting mangroves. Important species include:

  • Wingless Animals: Tiger, saltwater crocodile, water monitors, rhesus monkey, and jackal.
  • Bird Species: Cormorant, open-bill stork, common pochard, white stork, and common redshank.
  • Giant honeybee is important native.
  • Javan rhinoceros and the wild buffalo are now extirpated.

Threats to Sundarban Ecosystem

The Sundarbans play an important role in the economy of the southwestern region of Bangladesh- single largest source of forest produce. They are threatened by:

  • Harmful effects of sewage and industrial pollution
  • Continuing deforestation threaten
  • Expanding agriculture resulting in clearing of mangrove forests for irrigation canals
  • Heavy pressure on the fisheries, including fishing along riverine tracts.
  • Offshore oil spills

UNEsCO and Sundarbans

Indian segment of Sundarbans is part of UNESCO World Heritage site:

  • Forms part of Ganga-Brahmaputra delta across 9,630 sq. km, distributed among 104 islands.
  • Largest tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.

Details on Zoological Survey of India (ZsI) Compendium

  • Catalogues faunal diversity of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve covering 9,630 sq. km spread over 19 blocks in North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal.
  • Sundarbans ecosystem hosts 2,626 animal species (zoological kingdom of Animalia) , 140 primitive Protista and diverse 25 phyla.

Animal and Mammalian Species

  • Includes Bengal tigers adapted to aquatic conditions.
  • Documented 50 mammalian species include Asian small-clawed Otter, Gangetic Dolphin, Grey and Marsh Mongoose.
  • Wild Rhesus Monkey is the only primate found in Sunderbans.
  • Due to shirking of mangrove swamp habitat, two rhinos, Swamp deer, Barking deer and Hog deer and Asiatic Wild Water Buffalo are not found in Sundarbans.

Bird Species

356 species of birds include raptors (birds of prey) , Osprey, Brahminy Kite, White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Rose-ringed parakeets, flycatchers and warblers.

  • Fish and Amphibian Species
  • Covers about 350 species of fish.
  • Cartilaginous fish make up 10.3 % .
  • 6.3 % fish are near-threatened and 4.85 % are threatened.
  • Documents 173 molluscs.
  • 334 species of crustaceans that is crabs, shrimp and prawns have been documented.
  • Ten species of frogs and toads are found.
  • There are 11 species of turtles, including the famous Olive Ridley, Hawskbill sea turtles and most threatened freshwater “River Terrapin” .

Insect and Reptile Species

  • Region has 753 insect species
  • 210 butterflies and moths.
  • Include 13 lizard species including three species of Monitor Lizards and five species of Geckos.
  • Rivers, creeks channels, and islands have about 30 snake species including monocled cobra, Russell՚s viper, common and banded kraits.

About Zoological Survey of India (ZsI)

  • India՚s apex organization on animal taxonomy.
  • Established in 1916 to promote the survey, exploration, research, and documentation of animal taxonomy in Indian subcontinent.
  • Designated repository for the National Zoological Collection per section 39 of the National Biodiversity Act, 2002.

- Published/Last Modified on: October 10, 2017


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