A fragile ark that shelters 2,626 creatures: 

A fragile ark that shelters 2,626 creatures


Zoological Survey of India produces first exhaustive compendium of animal diversity in the Sundarban islands and the threats it faces.


  • The Sundarbans is the only tiger-mangrove kingdom in the world and is home to globally threatened species such as the Bengal tiger, sea turtle, fishing cat, estuarine crocodile, Gangetic dolphin and river terrapin.
  • According to Zoological Survey of India’s (ZSI) listings, there are 2,626 animal species in the Indian Sundarbans.

What is the present status of Sundarbans faunal diversity?

  • The Indian segment of the Sundarbans, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, forms part of the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta across 9,630 sq.km, distributed among 104 islands.
  • The region hosts 2,487 species that come under the zoological kingdom of Animalia, and 140 under the more primitive Protista.

What are the threats that Sundarbans is  facing today?

  • Due to pressure  on habitat from people and natural threats have shrunk the mangrove swamp habitat, mammal numbers are declining.
  • Two Rhinos, Swamp deer, Barking deer, and Hog deer and Asiatic Wild Water buffalo are not found in Sundarbans anymore.
  • There are 356 species of birds, the most spectacular being raptors, or birds of prey
  • There are 11 turtles, including the famous Olive Ridley and Hawskbill sea turtles and the most threatened freshwater species, the River Terrapin.
  • A crocodile, 13 lizards including three species of Monitor Lizards and five Geckos are found here.
  • The rivers, creeks channels and the islands together harbour about 30 snake species, led by the King Cobra, considered vulnerable by IUCN.
  • The mangrove ecosystem covers about 350 species of fish. Cartilaginous fish, which have skeletons of cartilage rather than bone, make up 10.3%.
  • The IUCN conservation status shows 6.3% fish are near-threatened and 4.85% are threatened. Also, there are 173 molluscs.
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