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Biodiversity of Indian Sunderbans recorded for the first time

06 / 10 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

Zoological Survey of India has, for the first time, published a detailed record of the animal and protozoa species of the Sunderban of West Bengal. The compendium, called Fauna of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, lists 25 diverse phyla under two large animal kingdoms — Protista and Animalia — and 2,626 species in all. Sunderbans forests, locally known as Badabon, are one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in India. This UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its mangroves, coastal forests that serve as a biological buffer between the land and sea. The unique ecosystem is famous for the royal Bengal tiger, Gangetic dolphin, and estuarine crocodile. It also provides shelter to a large variety of birds, fishes, spiders, reptiles, oysters, and crabs. The forest forms a part of the Ganga Brahmaputra delta, spread across 26,000 square kilometers and distributed amongst 104 islands. Kailash Chandra, Director of the Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, says that “the information about the faunal diversity of Sunderbans was scattered, therefore, we took the initiative of documenting the organisms of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, which we have accomplished in this compendium.” In addition to the famous tigers of these islands, the compendium is full of hundreds of pictures of the 50 mammalian species found in the region, including the Asian small-clawed otter, grey and marsh mongoose, civet, leopard cat, jackal, and Indian fox. Also included are 356 species of birds, including raptors like osprey, Brahminy kite, and white-bellied sea eagle, that occupy the highest canopies of the forest.…

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