Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Predators of Sundarbans

The fertile soils of the delta have been subject to intensive human use for centuries, and the ecoregion has been mostly converted to intensive agriculture, with few enclaves of forest remaining. The remaining forests, together with the Sundarbans mangroves, are important habitats for the endangered Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris). The forest also contains leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) and several other smaller predators such as the jungle cats (Felis chaus), fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus), and leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis).[10]

Several predators dwell in the labyrinth of channels, branches and roots that poke up into the air. This is the only mangrove ecoregion that harbors the Indo-Pacific region's largest predator, the Bengal Tiger. Unlike in other habitats, tigers live here and swim among the mangrove islands, where they hunt scarce prey such as the Chital deer (axis axis), Indian Muntjacs(Muntiacus muntjak), Wild boars (Sus scrofa), and even Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta). It is estimated that there are now 500[20] Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area. The tigers regularly attack and kill humans who venture into the forest, human deaths ranging from 30-100 per year.[26]

Some of the reptiles are predators too, including two species of crocodiles, the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), as well as the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and the Water monitor lizards (Varanus salvator), all of which hunt on both land and water. Sharks and the Gangetic Dolphins (Platanista gangetica) roam the waterways.[27]

Source: Wikipedia Online