Thursday, January 12, 2012


A guest post from Dhiman Mondal of Dhaka University:

The Sundarbans is the world’s largest mangrove forest. Literally, Sundarban means “beautifull forest”. The name is believed to be derived from a kind of tree which is said to be the main tree of this forest. Some believe that the name the name might come from “Somundor Bon” which is in English “Sea forest” because it lies beside the sea.

I have spent 50 days and nights in Sundarbans, and still I love to go there. Though I have traveled through the all main channels within this 6000 area, I certainly not gathered 100% knowledge about this forest. I mean, it’s kind of impossible. There are many things to study; Ecology, Geology, Hydrogeology, Zoology, Archeology etc. This is the dream land for all scientists related to the Earth and Environmental Science.
So, what do people want to know about Sundarbans?

First of all, this is the land of the Royal Bengal Tiger. When we work in the forest, we usually do not want to meet a tiger though we have three forest guards with us. You probably know why. We are used to seeing the footprints and the skulls and bones of deer because tigers love deer for dinner. When they catch any deer they eat some meat, and then keep the deer in a secret place to be rotten, which is their favorite. As deer are available in the Bangladesh part of the forest, most of the 300 remaining tigers live in this part. About 60% of the total 10,000 of forest lies in Bangladesh, and the other 40% lies in India.

Besides the tigers and deer this forest is the sweet home for 42 species of mammals, 270 species of birds, 150 species of commercially important fish, 35 reptiles and 8 amphibians. The tiger is happy with these wide ranges of foods. But sometimes people become the dinner of the tiger. When a tiger cannot find any food it comes into the nearest village and hunts cows, goats and even man. Every year tiger hunt 150 to 200 people. You can say if there are numerous deer and many species of mammals, fishes; why do tigers come to the village to eat man rather than eating something from the forest? Firstly, tigers are carnivorous and they like meat very much. The second reason is pretty funny -- sometimes they are not able to hunt anything in the forest because of monkeys. Monkey are said to be the enemy of the tiger and friend of the deer. When they see a tiger, they give warning to the deer, and then the hungry tiger comes into village and hunt people instead.

So, one question for you, “Do you want to see a Royal Bengal Tiger?” Write me why and why not.

Dhiman Ranjan Mondal

Senior Research Scientist

Dhaka University Earth Observatory

Department of Geology

University of Dhaka

Dhaka, Bangladesh

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