SUBJECT :Biodiversity 

Increased industrial activity in the Sundarbans has affected the ecology of the region, resulting in the mutation and elimination of the flora and fauna in the Archipelago.

Further increase in industrial and tourism-related activity may cause many animals - including tigers - to disappear from Sunderbans, the wild life experts opined on Wednesday (Global Tiger Day) in a seminar in the city. Sunderbans is one of world's largest tidal mangrove forests and houses “76-100 tigers” as per the last count. The Sunderbans on Indian side is spread over two districts of North 24-Parganas and South 24-Parganas, covering an area of nearly 10,000 sq. km.

“Extensive development has taken over nature, due to which the (Mangrove species) Sundari and Kewra trees that live on sweet water are either depleting or getting mutated. If these trees disappear, then animals will slowly die and that includes the tiger too. Humans are disturbing the whole food chain oblivious of the fact that we all co-exist,” said Dr. Pradeep Vyas, the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Sundarban Biosphere Reserve (SBR). Interestingly, SBR is under the State Forest Department.

Dr. Vyas expressed concern over the “slow disappearance” of the Bidyadhari River, that provided the Sundarbans with sweet water. Bidyadhari used to provide sweet water, which was the food for many mangrove trees. But now lack of water is affecting the mangrove rain forest. The trees that acted as food for the animals changed in nature or died, due to which all kinds of animals are negatively affected. “Because of lack of sweet water the trees are mutating and the animals - like deer - are not getting enough food and disappearing. As a result, the tigers are not getting their prey and thus the entire food chain gets affected,” Dr. Vyas said.

This discussion on the preservation of environment took place on Global Tiger Day when eminent wildlife enthusiasts, wildlife journalists, photographers, NGO workers and officials gathered under one roof in Indian Museum.

Source: 3 August, 2015, The Hindu