The Sundarbans National Park is a National Park, Tiger Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve in West Bengal, India. It is part of the Sundarbans on the Ganges Delta, and adjacent to the Sundarban Reserve Forest in Bangladesh. The delta is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger. It is also home to a variety of bird, reptile and invertebratespecies, including the salt-water crocodile.
The present Sundarban National Park was declared as the core area of Sundarban Tiger Reserve in 1973 and a wildlife sanctuary in 1977. On 4 May 1984 it was declared a National Park. It is a UNESCO world heritage site inscripted in 1987.
The coastal active delta of Sunderban at the mouth of Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh, having a complex geomorphologic and hydrological character with climatic hazards, has a vast area of mangrove forests with a variety of flora and diverse fauna in a unique ecosystem. The natural environment and coastal ecosystem of this Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site is under threat of physical disaster due to unscientific and excessive human interferences. Conservation and environmental management plan for safeguarding this unique coastal ecology and ecosystem is urgently required.
Flora: Sundarban has achieved its name from the Sundari Trees. It is the most exquisite variety of tree that are found in this area, a special kind of Mangrove tree. It has specialised roots called pneumatophore which emerge above ground and help in gaseous exchange i.e. respiration. During the rainy season when the entire forest is waterlogged, the spikes rising from the ground has their peak in the air and helps in the respiration process.
Fauna: The Sundarbans forest is home to more than 400 tigers. The royal Bengal tigers have developed a unique characteristic of swimming in the saline waters, and are famous for their man-eating tendencies. Tigers can be seen on the river banks sunbathing between November and February. Apart from the Bengal tiger, Fishing cats, Leopard cats, Macaques, Wild boar, Indian grey mongoose, Fox, Jungle cat, Flying fox, Pangolin, Chital, are also found in abundance in the Sundarbans.
Avifauna: Some of the birds commonly found in this region are openbill storks, black-capped kingfishers, black-headed ibis, water hens, coots, pheasant-tailed jacanas, pariah kites, brahminy kite, marsh harriers, swamp partridges, red junglefowl, spotted doves, common mynahs, jungle crows, jungle babblers, cotton teals, herring gulls, Caspian terns, gray herons, common snipes, wood sandpipers, green pigeons, rose ringed parakeets, paradise-flycatchers, cormorants, grey-headed fish eagles, white-bellied sea eagles, seagulls, common kingfishers, peregrine falcons, woodpeckers, whimbrels, black-tailed godwits, little stints, eastern knots, curlews, golden plovers, northern pintails, white-eyed pochards and whistling teals.
Aquatic fauna: Some of the aquatic animals found in the park are sawfish, butter fish, electric rays, silver carp, starfish, common carp, horseshoe crabs, prawn, shrimps, Gangetic dolphins, skipping frogs, common toads and tree frogs.
Reptiles: The Sundarbans National Park houses a large number of reptiles as well, including estuarine crocodiles, chameleons, monitor lizards, turtles, including olive ridley, hawksbill, and green turtles, and snakes, including python, king cobra, rat snake, Russell's viper, dog faced water snake, checkered keelback, and common krait.
Endangered species: The endangered species that lives within the Sundarbans are royal Bengal tiger, saltwater crocodile, river terrapin, olive ridley turtle, Ganges River dolphin, hawksbill turtle and mangrove horseshoe crab.