(click on the image for a larger preview)
The distinction of being the most populated tiger reserve, not by tigers but by humans, comes with unique challenges, both for tigers and humans. Add to that the constant flux that tides, floods, cyclones and climate change bring to the delta, and you get a landscape that makes every day a battle for survival. And yet, Sunderban, with all its socio-political challenges and conservation threats, is the only hope for the people as well as the wildlife that inhabit it.
This map of the Indian fraction of the Sunderbans (a majority of the mangrove forest is in Bangladesh) attempts to present the major flora and fauna species that share the delta with humankind, making the mangrove and tidal ecosystems and their people an interdependent component in their own right. The art style in the map pays tribute to rural Bengal's Patachitra art, while the compass is a homage to the legend of Bonobibi and Dokhhin Ray, a thread that binds humans and nature in a tightly knit web. A few snippets from the map are below.
The map has been commissioned by the Wildlife Trust of India, and is on display at the Sunderbans' mangrove interpretation centre at Sajnekhali. By special arrangement, prints of the map are also available via my Happywagon webstore here, shipped both in India and abroad.
A huge thanks to Mr. Samrat Paul of WTI for sharing his time and expertise with me during my field visit to the Sunderbans that made the illustration possible.