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Wildlife Sanctuaries in Goa

 
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    Wildlife Sanctuaries in Goa

    Known for spectacular beaches and vibrant nightlife, Goa is also proud of its blossoming green kingdom. With an extremely rich flora and fauna it has taken keen interest in protecting its ecological wealth and with more than 20% of its geographical area declared protected it has become one of the Indian states with maximum legal protection.  Although fairly less popular, Goa is a dream destination for the adventure lovers and nature enthusiasts for its marvelously rich variety of wildlife residing leisurely in the thick covers of verdant green forests.

    Let’s have a look on the 10 best and most picturesque wildlife sanctuaries in Goa:

    Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

    Image Credit: wikimedia 

    The smallest of all the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary falls in the Ponda region. Slightly away from the coast, this 8 sq.km long natural reserve lies in the foothills of the lush green Western Ghats.

    A great attraction to school children and tourist Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is a home to a wide range of wildlife like Indian Bison, Sambar Deer, Indian Peafowl, Malabar Giant Squirrel and a variety of deer and snake. Along with the Common Grey Hornbill and Golden Backed Woodpecker, more than a hundred different species of birds reside in this garden.

    Image Credit: wikimedia - N A Nazeer

    More of a jungle resort with Eco-Tourism cottages where nature lovers can stay and explore the diverse wildlife in Goa, the sanctuary even has a zoological park, an expansive deer park,  botanical and rose garden to woo its visitors. The adventure enthusiasts can also opt for a trek through the reserve to gain insight and enjoy the picturesque natural ambiance.

    Best visited during December and January, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary even houses a small archeological exhibition with many figurines dating back to the sixth century. Allowing the visitors between 9:00AM-5:00PM (except on Thursday), this sanctuary can be easily reached as it is well connected to different parts of Goa.

     

    Molem Wildlife Sanctuary

    Image Credit: wikimedia 

    Molem Wildlife sanctuary is the core area of Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. Located in the Sanguem region, it is best explored in between November to March. 

    Barking Deer, Black Panther, Bengal Tiger, Bonnet Macaque, Leopard, Civet and Wild Boar can be easily spotted while strolling around this sanctuary. A heaven for bird watchers, it boasts of recording 120 different bird species like Wagtails, Fairy Bluebird, Drongo, Three-Toed Kingfisher, Great India Hornbill and Golden Oriole.

    [Learn the art of wildlife photography as you step into the magical wilderness of Goa]

    With vehicles permitted within the sanctuary, the biggest attraction here is the adventurous jungle safari; the park is also famous for its trekking trails and bird watching. It is also recommended to hire an experienced guide while travelling through the thick forest.

    Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

    Image Credit: wikimedia 

    A perfect representation of the delicate ecosystem of the Western Ghats, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Canacona Taluka, South Goa. This 105 sq. km. large park is called a tree lovers paradise and is at its blooming zenith is between October to March. Visitors are allowed every day from early 7:00AM to 5:30 PM after a minimal entry fees; however, there are extra charges for carrying camera or any kind of videography devices.

    Image Credit: wikimedia

    Covered heavily by thick deciduous trees, it serves as the home to Flying Lizard, Golden-Back Gliding Snake, Malabar Trogon, White-Bellied Woodpecker and Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch. The sanctuary has about eight natural trails ranging from 500m to 5km.

    [Venture into the forests of Goa, view snakes up-close and capture them with your cameras]

    A Nature Interpretation Centre run by the forest department organizes various treks and walks through the abundant greenery.  For the daredevils who wish to spend a night in the open wilderness, the forest department even arranges for a cot and mosquito nets.  Another unique feature is the 25m high watchtower that is balanced entirely atop the trees and provides an exhilarating view of a waterhole where the four-legged residents often visit.

     

    Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary

    Image Credit: wikimedia 

    Located at the Sattari Taluka near Valpoi town, Molem Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in biodiversity and is being considered to be promoted as one the Project Tiger Reserves due to the presence of Royal Bengal Tigers. Highly renowned for spectacular waterfalls like the Vazra Sakla and the Virdi Falls in the Chorla Ghats region, this biodiversity hotspot has been termed as an area of high endemism by Conservation International. 

    The animal lovers can treat their eyes with a glimpse of Indian Gaur, Barking Deer, Sambhar DeerRuddy Mongoose, Asian Palm Civet and Black-Faced Langur. However LeopardSloth Bear, Black PantherDhole, Mouse DeerJungle CatIndian Pangolin and the endangered Slender Loris are a rare sight in this sanctuary. 

    [Get thrilled with an intriguing tour of Cumbarjua Canal in Goa to spot some Mugger crocodiles]

    Also awarded the title of an International Bird Area, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary also houses a number of   White-bellied Blue-flycatcher, Malabar Parakeet, Nilgiri Wood-pigeonMalabar Grey HornbillRufous Babbler, Grey-headed Bulbul and Crimson-backed Sunbird. Best time to plan your visit to the wildlife in Goa is in the months of November to March when the humidity level is comparatively low.

     Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary

    Image Credit: wikimedia 

     The newest addition to the enchanting wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Sanguem Taluka of Eastern Goa which covers an approximate 211 sq. km of the enchanting Western Ghats. It derives its name from the Netravali or Neturli, an important tributary of the Zuari River, which is also an extremely significant source of fresh water in the region.

    Image credit: wikimedia

    Along with a spectacular array of wildlife and terrain, this sanctuary also has some of the most enchanting forest coverage with moist deciduous woods fused beautifully together with semi-evergreen and evergreen patches. This rich and diverse abode of the wilds also boasts of its stunning range of fauna that includes Panthers, Cobras, Giant Squirrels, Great Pied Hornbills Slender Loris and the rarely found Malabar Tree Toad.

    [Be prepared to witness an entirely different essence of Goa - Jungle Tour ]

    A perfect haven for birds and butterflies it is also the home to avifauna like Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Grey Headed Bulbul, Great Pied Hornbill and butterflies like Black Rajah, Gaudy Baron, and Malabar Tree Nymph. Best visited in the months from October to March, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary attracts lots of nature lovers with its scintillating forests along with numerous waterfalls and perennial streams.

     

    Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary

    Image Credit: wikimedia 

    Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, a 240sq.km of protected area located in the Western Ghats, in Sanguem taluka, is the biggest of all the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. Along with being rich in flora and fauna it encloses numerous temples from the Kadamba Dynasty and the famous Dudhsagar Waterfalls.  

    The domain is also home to Dhangar nomadic buffalo herders. The unspoiled vegetation constituting of tropical evergreen and semi-green forests together with moist deciduous forests along with numerous perennial water streams makes Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary a perfect habitat for a plethora of birds and animals. 

    [With as many as 423 bird species, enjoy bird watching in Goa]

    Image credit: wikimedia

    Mammals like Panther, Barking Deer, Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Bonnet Macaque and Sambar can be spotted along with birds like Blue Mormon, Common Jezebel, Common Mormon and Plain Tiger.

    Open all through the week from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM, this sanctuary is best visited in between November and March. One can leisurely stroll through the sanctuary along with an experienced guide, but for the adventure enthusiasts there are various exciting activities like jungle safaris, forest trails and night safaris.

    Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

    Image Credit: wikimedia 

    Located at the western tip of the Chorao Island along Mandovi River, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a mangrove swamp, which is an ornithologist's paradise. Named after the most popular ornithologist of India, Dr. Salim Ali, this sanctuary is a sheer delight for anyone who has a fondness towards rare and exotic birds.

    Open all throughout the year, you can enter this avifaunal paradise after a prior permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden of the Forest Department with a minimal entry fees. Boat rides within the sanctuary takes the visitors to some of the areas that are often visited by the colourful dwellers of the park. Moreover, one can plan a trip with family and friends to visit best places in Goa

    Image credit: wikimedia

    The variety of local and migratory bird species found here are Eagles, Drongos, Kingfishers, Kites, Myna, Curlews, Sandpiper, Redshank and Hoopoe. To get the most out of this trip plan the visit either in the early morning and late evening. 


    Besides being the hub of party and beach lovers, Goa is also a hotspot for the wildlife lovers. Be it for those who adores the colourful birds or those who prefers to witness wilderness amidst the jungle beasts, wildlife in Goa or the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are the idyllic options!

    [Moreover, one can even enjoy exclusive goa packages from mumbai]