Goa Wildlife Sanctuaries
There are three main wildlife sanctuaries in Goa: Bondla, Bhagwan Mahavir and Cotigao. The sanctuaries were formed around the 1960s with the objective to save many endangered species. Two new wildlife sanctuaries were opened in 1999; Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, in Sanguem, and Mhadei, in Sattari taluka.
Spread over 755sq. km, these sanctuaries constitute about 20 percent of the land area of Goa, India. Situated along the Western Ghats, Goa is one of the world’s richest reservoirs of biodiversity. The sanctuaries, managed by the state’s Forest Department, amply testify that there is more to Goa than just beaches, churches and temples.
Though Goa wildlife sanctuaries are open all the year around, the best period to visit them is between October and March. Post-monsoon, the forests, with their variety of trees, flowers and cascading waterfalls, are absolutely bewitching.
Perfectly positioned between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, Goa forms a natural habitat for an amazing array of birds and animals. Goa wildlife sanctuaries are picturesque and bustling with animal life. Away from the dust and din of the city, the rain-washed sanctuaries of Goa are breathtakingly beautiful.
1Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Covering 1.8sq km, this sanctuary has fourteen different varieties of mangroves. These are intersected at various points by different water canals and provide a natural habitat to birds.
Read more: Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
2Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary & Mollem National Park
The sanctuary that was earlier known as Mollem Game Sanctuary was later christened Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary and lies to the east of Goa, along the Western Ghats. It covers 240sq km of dense vegetation. The sanctuary in Sanguem taluka, is divided by NH4A into two parts. The Mormugao-Londa railway line too passes through Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. This is the largest protected wildlife area in Goa.
Read more: Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
3Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Close to Usgao, the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 8sq km. The sanctuary falls in the Ponda area, also known as Goa’s temple belt, and gets a fair share of visitors. The sanctuary is covered with deciduous forests, with small patches of evergreens.
Read more: Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
4Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread over 85.65 sq km, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is crossed by Talpona River. The Galjibaga River flows along its southeastern boundary. Dense trees cover this area, with some of the tallest being about 30m. There are many animals in the sanctuary; langurs, bisons, boars, leopards, black panthers, deer, wild cats and pangolins.
Read more: Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
More great destinations can be found in the Explore India page.