The Sundarban forest lies in the vast delta on theBay of Bengalformed by the super confluence of thePadma,BrahmaputraandMeghnarivers across southernBangladesh. The seasonally floodedSundarbans freshwater swamp forestslie inland from the mangrove forests on the coastal fringe. The forest covers 10,000 km2. of which about 6,000 are inBangladesh. It became inscribed as aUNESCOworld heritagesite in 1997. The Sundarbans is estimated to be about 4,110 km², of which about 1,700 km² is occupied by waterbodies in the forms of river, canals and creeks of width varying from a few meters to several kilometers.
The Sundarbans is intersected by a complex network oftidalwaterways,mudflatsand smallislandsof salt-tolerant mangrove forests. The interconnected network of waterways makes almost every corner of the forest accessible by boat. The fertile soils of the delta have been subject to intensive human use for centuries, and the ecoregion has been mostly converted to intensive agriculture, with few enclaves of forest remaining. The remaining forests, taken together with the Sundarbans mangroves, are important habitat for the endangeredtiger. Additionally, the Sundarbans serves a crucial function as a protective barrier for the millions of inhabitants in and aroundKhulnaandMonglaagainst the floods that result from thecyclones.
It is better not to indulge ourselves into the arithmetic of how many animals, birds, reptiles or trees exists there, or that it is one of the biggest mangrove expanses and that it forms the biggest deltas of the world. Rather we would like to speak about some of the details which are seldom spoken of.There would be only a few families in Sundarban which would be spared of a tiger attack. A native of Sundarban would not utter the word “tiger” but prefer to call it “uncle”or bara-miah means some one of upper-rclass, just for the sheer fact that “taking the name of a tiger, is synonymous to calling the tiger. Few researchers believe that as high as 80% of the Royal Bengal Tigers are born Man-Eaters. Married women sometimes stays as a widow by not practicing any rituals of a married woman , till back home when the husband goes for honey collecting into the jungle,. Some believe it is done to make the tiger believe that she is already a widow. At one point of time there were so many widows, due to tiger attacks, that there was a village actually being called “Vidhwa palli”, or the widow village. There are generally 50 casualties every year from tiger attacks, but there is no instance of a tourist boat being attacked ever.THANKFULLY!!! The reason behind the fact of this security is, tourist boats are adequately secured against any threat of tiger attack, every tourist boat is guarded by armed and trained security personnel. So the occurrence of tiger attack in tourist boat is negligible. On the other hand the wood cutter’s and honey collectors have to go to deep inside the jungle risking their life. The sounds of chopping wood allow the tiger to get information about his prospective pray. Lord of the jungle kingdom eventually crawl closer to the prey without making any sound sprang on the prey and within moments disappear from the scene. The strength of a wild tiger is simply unimaginable. A tiger can easily carry a full grown cow after killing it on his back quite some miles away without taking any rest. For two reasons human being is their favorite choice one is taste of human flesh and blood and ease of hunting human being than any other jungle animal.
The Royal Bengal tigers cannot climb the trees but they are very good swimmers. That is the reason the fisherman don’t dare to anchor their boat on the bank of rivers or cannels in the night time, they always keep some distance from the land to secure their life from hungry man-eaters especially the areas where sweet water is available and tiger come to drink water in the night and if boats are anchored there it would easily allow the lord of the jungle to have a much expected special meal. But still there is no way to feel secured from jaws of the tigers because they are good swimmers and so many times they have managed to get the targeted pray among the group of fisherman having deep sleep on their fishing boat in the middle of the night without making any noise which could awake other fellow fishermen for extending any support to save his life. By the time the fellow fishermen realizes the fate of their lost colleague and start rescue operation because sooner they chase the tiger possibility of getting the remain of deceased brightens. Most of the cases rescue party recovers half of the dead body left by the tiger for her next course of meal from deep in the jungle. The final Chapter of the life of the ill-fated fisherman ends after a brief funeral session. The life style of the fishermen living around sundarban is unfortunately not so beautiful though the meaning of the jungle refers so. The fishermen live on hand to mouth, go back to fishing by next morning as usual, and the tiger after taking a break of a week or so, go in search of another golden opportunity to have a delicious meal of human flesh and blood.
Another domain the water bodies of sunderban is ruled by the only population of the Estuarine, or Salt-Water Crocodile (Crocodile sparesis).they are equally dangerous like the majestic tigers. The Sundarbans is intersected by a complex network oftidalwaterways,mudflatsand smallislandsof salt-tolerant mangrove forests. The interconnected network of waterways makes almost every corner of the forest accessible by boat. A large number of people also pay the price for their carelessness while moving along the river banks or try to take a bath in the river. The clever man-eater crocodile wait for this. It is very difficult to track down the movement of a crocodile. They can hide their whole body except a small portion of her body out of the water and move very slowly and almost soundlessly.
Royal Bengal enjoying meal The Clever crocodile in search of a prey
The everyday life of a Sundarban resident generally revolves around three things.The tide,tiger and terror. I don’t know that how people would like to define the life style of the peoples of sundarban, might be as the Charles Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest” as if that if you don’t know how to secure your life from the jaws of a hungry tiger or crocodile than you don’t deserve to live in this corner of the world or to some one its the law of the beautiful jungle or even simply the way of life they have chosen for generations.
Sun sets in sundarban as usual, declaring the end of a day, Usually in other parts of the world children and wife wait for their father and husbands day end reunion and enjoy dinner, but children of the wood cutters and honey collectors anxiously pass moments waiting till their father come back safely from the jungle escaping the jaws of hungry tigers. The poor wood cutters and honey collectors never know when and where they would be selected by the tigers for their appetite the poor wife wait for her husband to come back to the family or who knows her name would be included in the list of widows. Anyway this is unique place where man and man-eaters live-together for generations.