TOP 5 WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES – TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE!
Goa is the smallest state in India, and almost 580 square kilometres of this little state is covered with lush green canopy of dense forest. The state is home to an amazing array of flora and fauna, from the beautiful Kingfishers to the Damselfish and Barracuda that shimmer and dance under Goa’s waters, to the water buffalo that wander home come sunset after a hard day of wallowing. We took a trip of the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa.
BHAGWAN MAHAVEER SANCTUARY and MOLLEM NATIONAL PARK
It is biggest sanctuary in Goa covering an area of 240 square kilometres, including the Mollem National Park. This area was first known as Mollem Game Sanctuary and was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and renamed as Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary. The thick forest coverage is home to many animals including the Gaurs (Indian bison), Porcupines, wild Boar, the occasional Pangolin (scaly anteater), Leopard, Sambar – spotted deer, Cobras, a variety of birds and troops of langur monkeys, who usually show up to cause some mirth and mayhem. he area is situated near the town of Molem, 57 kilometres east of Panaji, the state capital of Goa. National Highway 4A divides it into two parts and the Mormugao – Londa railway line passes through the area.
MHADEI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Spread across 208 square kilometres, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located about 52 km away from Panaji, the state capital of Goa. The sanctuary is high in biodiversity and is being considered for being elevated to the status of a Project Tiger Reserve because of the presence of Royal Bengal Tiger. The three highest peaks in Goa – Sonsogod at an elevation of 3369 feet, TalacheSada at an elevation of 2664 feet and Vageri at an elevation of 2378 feet – are in the hill ranges within the sanctuary. Chorla and Surla are the two relatively large villages in this area. Gaurs, Sloth bears, Mongooses, wild dogs, slender loris, deer’s and panthers can be spotted here. The sanctuary boasts of a wide variety of birds making it a bird watcher’s paradise. It is also the abode of many endangered species of birds.
Spread across an area of over 86 sq kilometres, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest wildlife reserve in Goa. Set up in 1969 to protect wildlife, the sanctuary is about 60 km from Panaji, with an abundance of fauna and flora around it. It is bursting with wildlife including the mouse Deer and Antelope, Pangolins, flying lizards, the Malabar Trogon, the slender Loris, and a variety of snakes like the Malabar pit viper and the hump nosed pit Viper. The reserve is certain to inspire tree lovers, but less likely to yield many wildlife sightings: its tigers and leopards were hunted out long ago, while the Gazelles, Sloth Bears, Porcupines, Panthers and Hyenas that allegedly lurk in the woods rarely appear.
The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is 38 kilometres from Margao and is the smaller of the three wildlife sanctuaries of Goa. More than a sanctuary, it is an ideal jungle resort, a major attraction for school going children and nature lovers.
The area is covered with Moist Deciduous Forests, with small patches of evergreens and Canes. The state tree Terninaliacrenulata (Matti) and Rosewood are common here. The common animals that inhabit the sanctuary are the Gaur and the Sambhar deer. Bondla is home to over a hundred bird species. The Ruby Throated Yellow Bulbul which is the State Bird of Goa can be spotted here. For the more energetic the Nature Trails provide information simultaneously affording opportunities to see nature as it is.Bondla also has watch towers like the Gaur, Sambar, Wild Boar can be seen at water-holes.
There are few destinations around the world that can rival the year-round charm that Goa possesses. Contrary to popular opinion, a vacation in Goa during the rains is sheer bliss!
Once you are here and have are done with the sites, there are plenty of other ways to see Goa like trekking, cycling and much more. Keep a look out for our next blog.
NETRAVALI WILFLIFE SANCTURY
Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is located in South Eastern Goa, India. It constitutes one of the vital corridors of the Western Ghats and covers an area of 211 Kilometers. Netravali or Neturli is an important tributary of River Zuari, which originates in the sanctuary. Forests mostly consist of moist deciduous vegetation interspersed with evergreen and semi-evergreen habitat. It is adjacent to Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve, Karnataka on the eastern side, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa on the southern side and Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park on the northern side which in turn forms a contiguous protected area along with Madei Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa and Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka. The sanctuary sustains a good mammal population due to its rich habitat and plenty of perennial streams.