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Goa ~ Wildlife Sanctuaries in Goa

Goa is gifted with incredible natural beauty ranging from the beaches and gently rolling hills to the flora and fauna. Goa has four wildlife sanctuaries in the wooded areas of in-land Goa. The Bhagwan Mahaveer, Bondla, Cotigao, and Dr.Salim Ali Wildlife Sanctuaries are open to visitors interested in a glimpse of Goa's natural environment.

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bondla Wildlife sanctuary lies on the border of Ponda and Sanguem talukas in North East Goa. Located 38 km from Margao in the foothills of the Western Ghats, this 8 sq. km sanctuary is an ideal jungle resort and a major attraction for school going children and nature lovers. Monkeys, jackals, wild boar, peacocks, a variety of deer, snake species and herds of Indian Bison inhabit this area. Its mini zoo with tigers, bears, lions, crocodiles and snakes, sprawling deer park in natural habitat, botanical and rose gardens attract people throughout the year. Elephant rides are available to tourists. It's the smallest of the Goan wildlife sanctuaries and offers accommodation for an overnight stay. The Zoological Park and gardens at Bondla remain closed on Thursdays.

More on Goa
Getting Around
North Goa Beaches
South Goa Beaches

Another   Ambience
Reason to Return

SCUBA Diving
An Introduction

Bhagvan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated along the Northeast border of Goa at Molem, is the biggest of the three sanctuaries of Goa. 60 km from Panaji along Panaji-Belgaum National Highway, the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary covers 240 sq. km of tropical forestland dotted with occasional grassy Savannah's and tribal villages.

The sanctuary is rich in wildlife and is a paradise for bird watchers. Animals are allowed to roam free in the reserve but can be difficult to spot. The Mahadeva temple at Tambdi Surla is one of Goa's most sacred stone temples dating back to the Kadamba Dynasty. Devil's Canyon, which requires permission to visit, is a lovely gorge near the town of Molem. Some members of the Dhangar community of nomadic buffalo herders also inhabit this reserve, and can be seen tending to their buffaloes in the grassy plains and winding rivers. The highlight of a trip to this sanctuary, however, is a visit to the Dudhsagar Waterfalls, in the southeast region of the park.


Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Cotigao sanctuary encircles 86 sq. km of deciduous forest and natural vegetation. Demarcated in 1969, it is part of the Canacona taluka in South Goa, nearly 3 km off the Panaji-Mangalore National Highway No.17. It is best seen with private transport. Wildlife may be harder to observe in this park owing to the presence of human inhabitation of the Kunbi and Velip tribal communities. The Kunbi, a popular folk dance of Goa, originated from this tribe who are thought to be the descendants of the aboriginal communities of pre-Aryan settlement. Guides are available in this park and may be helpful in locating various animal and plant species, including a small waterhole known to attract the reserve's wildlife. It is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, as are most of the other sanctuaries, and has a small rest house where visitors can spend the night if they receive permission in advance. The ancient Jeevottam Partagal Math, noted for Vedic studies, lies in the vicinity of the sanctuary.

Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Located at the western tip of the island of Chorao, along the river Mandovi near Panaji, is the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. This reserve has few roads and is approachable by foot after crossing over by ferry from Ribandar to Chorao. Varieties of birds frequently visit the area. The sanctuary is home to mangroves, an unusual mudskipper fish variety, and a variety of local as well as migratory birds. This Sanctuary can be visited any time of the year with the permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden, Forest Department, Junta House, Panaji - Goa

Near the sanctuary, is the island village of Chorao,which dates back to the early Portuguese days. A visit to the pristine Chorao island is well worth it, and can be best enjoyed by renting a motorbike or hiring some form of transportation as public transportation is less frequent on the island.

Compiled by Puneet Sachdeva

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.