ZSI published a detailed compendium of animal species in the Indian Sundarbans, and the threats faced by them on the vulnerable island ecosystem.
The Indian segment of the Sundarbans is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a part of the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta spread across 9,630 square kilometer, and is distributed among 104 islands.
The sensitive regions house 2,487 species, which falls under the Zoological Kingdom of Animalia, and 140 species under the more primitive Protista, the category that cannot be classified in either animal, plant, or fungus.
The anthology of animal species released by the ZSI contains names of 2,626 species. The list includes a diverse range of biologically classified 25 phylum.
The publication titled ‘Fauna Sundarban Biosphere Reserve’ is an updated conglomeration of faunal diversity of the Sundarbans.
The researchers documented the tigers and their behavioral patterns. The book also contains fifty mammalian species, including Asian small-clawed otter, Gangetic dolphin, grey and marsh mongoose, and the wild rhesus monkey. The publication also elaborated on the species of birds, turtles, lizards, and snakes.
According to Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, Secretary of Nature Environment and Wildlife Society and a prominent contributor of the publication, feels that the compilation is equivalent to an encyclopedia.
Kailash Chandra, Director of the ZSI, said in an interview, “The publication includes over 2,600 species and contains the new species described from the mangrove ecosystems as well as threats faced by them due to climatic change.”
Commenting on the publication, Mr. Roy Chowdhury said, “The publication catalogues 9,630 sq. km. spread over 19 blocks in South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas of West Bengal.”
Succumbing to the threats to their habitats from the people, researchers could not locate rhinos, swamp deer, barking deer, hog deer, and the Asiatic wild buffalo anymore.
The authors collectively mentioned, “Mammal numbers have declined due to the pressure on habitat from people and natural threats. These threats have shrunk the mangrove swamp habitat.”