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The Sundarbans - Kingdom of the Tiger

Autor: Langloo
Poziom: Średniozaawansowany

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The Sundarbans is an area lying in the delta on the Bay of Bengal in the southern Bangladesh, India. It's a block of mangrove forests where various kinds of plants grow on salty, tropical soil. Many animals inhabit this jungle and the Bengal tiger is considered their undisputed king. But it is a dangerous ruler...

The Sundarbans are one of the few places where the Bengal tiger still lives in the wild. Its vast forests offer the rare predator sufficient amount of food and appropriate natural conditions. What sets the area apart from other places in the world where the species lives is that in the Sundarbans tigers for some time have been regularly hunting humans, and not only those who are foolish enough to stray into their territory.

The presence of tigers in the Sundarbans is nothing new. Actually, this is where they come from. But the attacks on humans are relatively recent and, alarmingly, more and more frequent. What made tigers start acting this way? Well, there's a couple of more or less credible explanations... One of them is that the tigers' aggression is caused by salt coming from the seawater they drink, as the forests they live in are located in coastal areas. Another possibility (though a creepy one) is that they could simply get used to the taste of the human body: the forest is prone to the extreme weather conditions – each year area's rampant cyclones kill thousands of people every year, so dead bodies floating in the swamps seem like an easy prey. What is more, the area is becoming overpopulated. With each new person, the tigers' territories become smaller, and the intruders forget about being extra-careful. They come too close and often surprise sleeping or feeding mothers with cubs. They may also be mistaken for animals, particularly when they crouch collecting the firewood or cutting grass.

I don't think there is a person there who hasn't lost a loved one in a tiger attack. In order to stop the killing spree both the officials and the villagers take certain precautions. The native inhabitants use to light giant bonfires and play loud noises over the loudspeakers in an attempt to frighten the predators away. Praying to the tiger god Dakshin Ray is also considered necessary if you want to travel through the Sundarbans safely. Authorities, on the other hand, suggest wearing neck pads to prevent tigers from biting into the spine – the usual way that the animals kill humans.

If you’re still willing to see the Beautiful Jungle (it's the literal translation of the Bengali name Sundarban) and its tiger king, do consult your tour agency or a good guidebook first! The exploration of the Sundarbans will surely be an unforgettable experience provided you keep an eye on your safety all the time.

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