The majestic view of the lush green mangrove forests in Sunderbans draws many tourists. The meandering rivers with Sundari trees standing tall here and there, birds nestling in tree tops, tigers in the forest and crocodiles in the water – Sunderbans easily qualifies as an exotic getaway. The splendid journey to the lap of nature now gets even more exciting with the inclusion of a fourth sanctuary in the area, and the largest of the lot. The other three sanctuaries included Sajnekhali (362 sq km), Lothian (38 sq km) and Haliday (6 sq km).
West Sunderbans Wildlife Sanctuary
Sprawling over an area of 556.45 square kilometers, the new sanctuary encloses two forests Chulkathi and Dhulibashani; the West Sunderbans Wildlife Sanctuary has become the largest sanctuary at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It formally came into existence after the state government issued a notification last month.
Surrounded by the Bay of Bengal in the south and rivers Matla and Thakuran in the east and west respectively, the beauty of the place is ethereal and is expected to draw tourists in large numbers.
Protecting the wild habitat
A recent camera-trap exercise has found a presence of at least 22 tigers in the forests under the new sanctuary. The status of a sanctuary will ensure more protection measures in the forests around the West Sunderbans Wildlife Sanctuary.
Experts believe that the move will restrict illegal entry into the forests also. A study on tiger presence in the forests here, done by the Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve and WWF-India recently, had sounded an alarm on the human pressure on the forests. The study, which found presence of a minimum 22 tigers in the forests, had also found a human density of more than 550 persons per square kilometre in the 22 villages around the newly-declared sanctuary.
The upgradation of the place to the status of a sanctuary will hopefully curb illegal entry into the forest area and thus protect the flora and fauna in the zone.
Chief wildlife warden N C Bahuguna said that they are trying to bring the new sanctuary under the management of the tiger reserve to ensure a better protection status for it. Even as the nation battles with a dwindling number of tigers, the new sanctuary provides hopes to animal lovers for better tiger conservation.
Boost to tourism
Thanks to the formation of this sanctuary, the appeal of Sunderbans for wild life admirers and photographers is expected to soar further. With the jungle calling, tourism industry will surely get a boost. So, pack your bags and get going; if you are planning a weekend trip to the Sunderbans, you can now look beyond the existing wildlife sanctuaries in the region.
I have good experience of the Sundarbans. My father has a govt job and he had been posted there for quite a few years. So many memories there for me.
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