|Last Photo taken in Dec 2009, Disappearing..
Remember South Talpotti? The Bangladeshi Island that was taken by Indian Navy? It has completely disappeared. On the other hand rich pod of Whales has been discovered in the nearby area in Bangladesh.
The 2.5 mile x 1.5 mile sized South Talpatti (or New Moore island) near Surderban has disapparead from Satellite imagery. India and Bangladesh both disputed its ownership for nearly 30 years. Now the problem has resolved sadly with its complete disappearance! Indian oceanographer Sugata Hazra a professor at in Calcutta, reports submerging of additional islands nearby:
"Another nearby island, Lohachara, was submerged in 1996, forcing its inhabitants to move to the mainland, while almost half the land of Ghoramara island was underwater, he said. At least 10 other islands in the area were at risk as well".The sea level has risen about 0.2 inches annually for last decade in the Bay of Bengal exceeding model predictions.
A similar endangered Sundarban Islands seen during a 2009 Trip in the area by the Author. The disappeared island is much bigger than this one.
South Talpotty island was discovered after the 1970's cyclone by an American satellite, and became a hot button issue between Bangladesh and its big neighbor India. In 1981 India sent its navy to post Indian flag on it and established a boarder guard camp on it. Now it has become a submerged mountain.
Thousands of desperate people- mostly poor- in the nearby islands are anyway planting Mangrooves for years to fight a loosing battle to slow down the erosion perhaps paying the price for rich nations indulgence with carbon.
However, it is also probable, that the island disappeared in a natural process of the channel dynamics rather than climate change as hypothesized by Dr. Hazara. The appearance and disappearance on char (river islands) is common in Bangladeshi rivers. In some cases they re-emerge after some years.
In any case, the actual Climate Change is going to be devastating to the area. The entire melting of Himalayan ice will flow through this area! The Island is at the tip of the largest Mangroove forest in the world- Sundarban- the home of Royal Bengal Tiger- also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If the sea level rises Sundarban will be lost in 50-100 years.
But, ahoi! Instead of Royal Bengal Tiger and beautiful Chitra Deers- thence Sundorban might turn out to be the playground of Dolphins and Whales!
Whales in Bangladesh?
Thats a sweet secret. The nearby sea area is also rich.The Swatch of No Ground- an undersea canyon is the playing ground for Irrawardy Dolphins.
Bangladeshi young researchers have discovered thriving pods of Whales right here.The author visited the area with the group twice in recent years in 2006 and 2009. It was delight to watch the activities of the young naturalists who have silently discovered the pods and regularly recording them for years by converting sea faring Sampan's into expeditionary vassel and increasing their area of observation over the years. A meeting disclosed findinging in 2008- Earth Times reported:
Researchers have identified waters along Bangladesh's coast and deep in the Bay of Bengal as one of the richest areas on Earth for cetacean diversity. An amazing array of dolphins and whales live in these areas, the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society and Bangladesh's Cetacean Diversity Project said after conducting a joint study over the past six years.
See some lucky shots of "Bangal' whales in flicker here.
Whales in Bangladesh! Photographed in Bangladesh's Swatch of No Ground area. For years, Bangladeshi research groups observing and recording whale pods in the in Bay-of-Bengal. (Photograph: © Indranil Kishor/ btef.info)