Swamp tiger, Sundarbans

by Soumyajit Nandy
Soumyajit Nandy

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

The Sundarbans is the largest single block of tidal halophytic (saline) mangrove forest in the world. The Sundarbans covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres of which 60 percent is in Bangladesh, and the remainder in India. The Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Sundarbans is the largest single block of tidal halophytic (saline) mangrove forest in the world. The Sundarbans covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres, of which 60 percent is in Bangladesh, and the remainder in India. The Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Like many species of the Sundarbans, its tigers too remain highly understudied. Though it is a known fact that the big cats love water, these mangrove specialists are a step ahead and are excellent swimmers. Sundarban tigers swim for long distances regularly, and at times even 2-3 kms wide big river confluences. Swimming is extremely important as this vast aquatic landscape is a mosaic of islands where tigers roam in search of prey, as well as to patrol their territory. The mangroves have chital and wild boar but at low densities. Hence, the tigers here kill and eat everything, from crabs to human beings. Life in these mangrove forests is a challenge for these tigers due to muddy soil, sharp pneumatophores, changing water level due to tides twice a day, salinity of water and scarcity of prey. It is actually a wonder how tigers have been surviving in such hostile conditions. In addition, habitat destruction due to development projects, poaching of prey base and rising sea levels are all threats to these swamp tigers.

About the author

Soumyajit Nandy
Kolkata-based Soumyajit Nandy is an architect by qualification and a wildlife photographer by profession.


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