Sundarbans Mangrove Forest
This forest, a World Heritage Site since 1997, is the largest continuous mangrove ecosystem in the world. It is part of a huge delta formed by sediments from the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers. The region contains thousands of mangrove-covered islands intersected by an intricate network of waterways. The Bengal tiger swims here from island to island, hunting prey such as spotted deer and wild boar. Other inhabitants include fishing cats, rhesus macaque monkeys, water monitor lizards, hermit crabs, and various species of sharks and dolphins. Habitat destruction threatens this region: more than half of the original mangroves have been cut down.
One extremely endangered inhabitant of the wetlands and rivers of Bangladesh is the gavial, a crocodilian. Once quite common in the Sundarbans, their numbers have dwindled due to accidental capture in fishing nets and other factors. Gavials are probably heading for regional extinction, although captive breeding programs in India and Nepal aim to save the species.