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Sundarban

"Sundarbans - the name itself evokes curiosity and intrigue. The Bangla world ban means forest, and the name Sundarbans was coined either from the forest of Sundari tree i.e, Sundari-ban, or from the forest of the Samudra (sea) i.e, Samudra-ban, or from its association with primitive tribe Chandra-bandhe which was corrupted into Sundarbans"

Sundarbans is the largest productive contiguous mangrove forest in the world, located in the south-western part of Bangladesh. At present it extends over 577356 hectares of which 175724 hectares is water. There are three protected areas in the Sundarbans Reserved Forest, which constitute the core area of the World Heritage Site, inscribed in 1997. The total area of the World Heritage Site is about 1400 km2, of which 490 km2 is water.

This huge mangrove stretches 80km into the Bangladeshi hinterland from the coast. The forests aren't just mangrove swamps though; they include some of the last remaining stands of the mighty jungles which once covered the Gangetic plain. The Sundarban covers an area of 38,500 sq km, of which about one-third is covered in water. Since 1966 the Sundarban has been a wildlife sanctuary, and it is estimated that there are now 400 Royal Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area.

Sundarban is the home to many different species of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and fishes. Over 120 species of fishes and over 260 species of birds have been recorded in the Sundarban. Irrawaddy and Ganges River Dolphin are common in the rivers. No less than 50 species of reptiles and eight species of amphibians are known to occur. The Sundarban now supports the only population of the Estuarine, or Salt-Water Crocodile in Bangladesh, and that population is estimated at less than two hundred individuals.

Its beauty lies in its unique natural surrounding. Thousands of meandering streams, creeks, rivers and estuaries have enhanced its charm. Sundarban is the natural habitat of the world famous Royal Bengal Tiger, spotted deer, crocodiles, jungle fowl, wild boar, lizards, theses monkey and an innumerable variety of beautiful birds. Migratory flock of Siberian ducks flying over thousands of sail boats loaded with timber, golpatta (round-leaf), fuel wood, honey, shell and fish further add to the serene natural beauty of the Sundarban.

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