Tigers in the Sundarbans

The Land of the Water Tiger

The main attraction of the Sundarbans is undoubtedly the Bengal tiger, also referred to as 'mama' or 'maternal uncle' by locals. Visitors are drawn to the Sundarbans with the hope of catching a glimpse of this majestic and elusive predator. Renowned as the national animal of Bangladesh, the Royal Bengal tiger is one of five subspecies of tigers found in the wild. Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) can be found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Western Myanmar, and Nepal and are classified as Endangered due to habitat loss and poaching.

The Sundarbans is celebrated for being the last bastion of the Royal Bengal Tiger. With its distinctive orange coat and bold black stripes, this apex predator holds an almost mythical status. Known for its powerful build, the Bengal tiger has uniquely adapted to the Sundarbans' aquatic environment, often swimming between islands in search of prey. This adaptation allows them to traverse the numerous waterways and tidal creeks that crisscross the mangrove forest, aiding in hunting and avoiding territorial conflicts with other tigers. The sight of a tiger swimming between islands is a testament to the unique and resilient nature of this apex predator.

The Bengal tigers of the Sundarbans play a vital role in balancing the mangrove ecosystem, which serves as one of Earth's most significant carbon sinks. As apex predators, they maintain equilibrium among mammal species populations, which translates to balance among plant species populations, allowing mangrove trees to remain the dominant vegetation in the delta. Maintaining this balance is fundamental to preserving the integrity of the entire ecosystem.

While spotting a Bengal tiger is challenging due to its solitary behavior and the Sundarbans' dense tree cover, a chance to stumble on the remarkable footprints (called "pugmarks" in Bengali) of the big cat is a thrilling experience. Try your luck while on a boat safari and keep your eyes peeled for a flash of their rich orange coat amidst the green foliage.

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Embark on an adventure deep into the Sundarbans for the chance to spot a majestic Bengal tiger