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Flora and Fauna

You must not blame yourself, if you, standing by the side of the hilly jungle terrain of Dooars or Jaldapara in the north or the dark depth of the Sunderbans in the South, have ignored the lesson preached by Robert Frost. Precisely, 11,879 Square Kilometers of West Bengal landmass are forest clad. The largest mangrove forest of the world is the Sunderbans. The other lush-green patches in the map of West Bengal punctuate the human world. Almost in any house-hold garden in rural Bengal, the rich orchards of mango, plantain, guava, cocoanut etc establish a congenial relationship between man and nature. The hilly regions of the state scream with superb colourful orchids and flowers.

 

The jungle and forests of West Bengal represent, more or less, the animal world in its totality. The Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sunderbans, Elephants of Northern Districts, the great one horned rhinos of Jaldapara and Garumara thump their feet to send the whole forests to shiver. Besides, the rapacious Cheetah, the tottering bears, the darting deer, the more species of quadrupeds as well as a few hundred species of birds including seasonal and migrating have added flying colours to the forest-green.  

 

Sunderbans, formerly SUNDERBUNDS, vast tract of forest and saltwater swamp forming the lower part of the Ganges Delta, extending about 160 miles (260 km) along the Bay of Bengal from the Hooghly River Estuary (India) to the Meghna River Estuary in Bangladesh. The whole tract reaches inland for 60-80 miles (100-130 km). A network of estuaries, tidal rivers, and creeks intersected by numerous channels, it encloses flat, marshy islands covered with dense forests. The name Sunderbans is perhaps derived from the term meaning "forest of sundari," a reference to the large mangrove tree that provides valuable fuel. Along the coast the forest passes into a mangrove swamp; the southern region, with numerous wild animals and Crocodile-infested estuaries, is virtually uninhabited. It is one of the last preserves of the Bengal tiger and the site of a tiger preservation project.

 


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