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India

Sundarbans

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Conservation benefit: Planting and protecting 123 acres of mangrove forest for 10 years

Community benefit: Purchase and renovation of a boat to use as an environmental education center

Date Approved: 01.2012

Mangroves

This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

The Sundarbans is the world’s largest mangrove forest area—and home to the endangered Royal Bengal tiger. It covers thousands of square miles where the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers flow into the Bay of Bengal. Parts are in India, parts in Bangladesh.

Many remote island communities in this ever-shifting delta have no road access, so the only way to reach them is by boat. Working with the Indian organization Help Tourism, Association for Conservation & Tourism, Seacology is funding the purchase and renovation of a boat designed for the delta. Help Tourism will use it as a mobile environmental education center, taking school groups out to learn about this enormous mangrove ecosystem. With luck, they’ll see monkeys, deer, birds, and crocodiles–maybe even an  elusive tiger.

Help Tourism will also organize mangrove planting on 123 acres (50 hectares) on the islands of Dayapur, Jamespur, and Santigachi.

The Sundarbans is a national park, tiger reserve, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and World Heritage Site. The Indian part of the Sundarbans covers 3,718 square miles (9,630 square kilometers). The tide comes twice daily, deepening old channels and cutting new ones. As a result of the ever-shifting soils, maps of the Sundarbans are never completely accurate.

Project Updates

November 2016

In June 2016, Seacology made a small grant to our nonprofit partner for repairs of the boat. The boat’s wooden hull has now been replaced with a fiberglass one, which will better withstand the effects of the region’s tropical climate and brackish water.

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April 2016

The Seacology-funded boat is used regularly for environmental education. Seacology’s India field representative Vineeta Hoon and Program Manager Mary Randolph visited the Sundarbans in March, and went along on an all-day field trip with 30 local students. The students toured several parts of the national park, and staff from SHER, the local organization devoted to saving the Royal Bengal tigers found in the area, taught them about the ecology of the region and the importance of the tiger sanctuary.

The next day, the boat was scheduled to take out adults, including parents of some of those same students, for a similar experience.

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November 2015

Our local partner organization reports that it is collaborating with Sanctuary Asia and Aircell, using the Seacology-funded boat to launch a conservation awareness campaign in Sundarbans villages. Called the “Tiger Express,” the program will also assist the forest department mitigate human-tiger conflicts, especially when a wild tiger strays into a village.

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February 2014

The project has been successfully completed. It was inaugurated by Seacology expedition members in November 2013. The mobile education resource center will take environment education and awareness programs to even the most remote villages in the vast Sundarbans delta that do not have any road access.

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