Sundarban – Wildlife Sanctuaries
Located on the eastern part of India, in the state of West Bengal, Sundarban is the largest estuarine delta in the whole world. It is also the largest mangrove forest in the world and home to a diverse number of plants, animals, birds and reptiles along with various types of aquatic animals and fishes. Such dynamic is its natural reserve that it has gained word wide popularity. However the crown jewel is obviously the Royal Bengal Tiger, King of the forests of Sundarbans who is as notorious for its ferocity and man-eating habit as it is appraised for its royalty and beauty. Sundarban had attained the status of a Tiger Reserve in the year 1973, when the Project Tiger Program was conceived in India. A few years later, in the 1977 it was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary an seven years later, in the 1984 it was declared as a National Park. Recognition from UNESCO as a world heritage site came in the year 1987.
Presently the Sundarban National Park has been divided into several wild life sanctuaries for more efficient administration. The total area of Sundarbans is 4262 sq km. Of the 54 islands that join together to form the Sundarbans, not all are inhabitated only by wild animals. An estimated 3.2 million people are also found to be living here. Of the total area around 2585 sq km are reserved for the wild animals. The sanctuaries of Sundarban are considered as protected areas. The four sanctuaries are:
- ·Sundarban National Park with an area of 1330 sq km
- ·Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary with an area of 362 sq km
- ·Lothian Wildlife Sanctuary with an area of 38 sq km
- ·Haliday Wildlife Sanctuary with an area of 6 sq km.
Of this the Sundarban National Park is the core area and is kept more or less undisturbed by the locals and tourists. Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary acts as a buffer area between the wild and the civilized world.