The jungles of Goa are blessed with a variety of flora and fauna. This rich flora and fauna of Goa comprise of bamboo canes, chillar barks, maratha barks, bhirand. Goa is having variety of wild life and many wildlife sanctuaries. Goa has a huge forest cover of 1,424 sq kms. Most of the geographic area around 1224.38 sq km is under government forests. These dense forests nurture the wildlife of Goa and one can view it at some of the popular wildlife sanctuaries like
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
It is located in Northeastern Goa in an area of eight sq km. It is a popular destination for both tourists and school children who take excursions here. The landscape of the Bondla wildlife sanctuary is strikingly beautiful and the lush green vegetation provides a natural ecosystem. The forest cover in north Goa at Bondla wildlife sanctuary consists of moist deciduous forests and evergreen vegetation patches. The Bondla wildlife sanctuary has numerous species of animals. A zoo provides shelter to injured wild animals or abused animals like snakes, bears, etc. The wild animals that are housed here include Panthers, Jungle Cats, Leopard Cats, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Hog Deer, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Wild Boar, Crocodiles, Snakes and Malabar Giant Squirrels. One can also view numerous bird species like woodpeckers, kingfishers, hornbills, etc.
Mollem National Park
Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park is a 240 sq.km protected area located along the eastern border of Goa, in the Western Ghats. The lush green forest cover is home to a variety of animals and birds. The Bhagwan Mahavir sanctuary also has interesting geographical formations like the Devil's Canyon and the Dudhsagar Waterfalls. The Devil's Canyon also makes an ideal watch tower from where one can view the wildlife here. Thick vegetation here forms a canopy over the sanctuary due to which sunlight is hardly able to reach the floor of the forest. Thus, the growth of grass is sparse but one can find bushes and shrubs here. The wildlife in this sanctuary is varied and one can find big, small, herbivores and carnivores co-existing in natural environment. The species of animals here include the Indian Bison known as Gaur, Sambhar Deer, Leopards, Spotted Deer, Slender Toris, Jungle Cats, Malayan Giant Squirrels, Pythons and Cobras. This sanctuary is particularly noted for leopards and its numerous reptile species. One can find many species of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes here.
Madei Wildlife Sanctuary
Madei Wildlife Sanctuary covers much of the north-eastern portions of Goa and is connected to the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary. Together the two wildlife areas have a total area of four hundred nineteen km of which two hundred eight km is contributed by Madei Wildlife Sanctuary. One can find many animals here including the Black Panther, the slender Loris and giant squirrels.
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Dr. Salim Ali Bird sanctuary is one of the most famous bird sanctuaries in India. It has been named after the famous ornithologist of India, Dr. Salim Ali. This bird sanctuary is one of the smallest bird sanctuaries in Goa and is spread over an area of just 1.8 square kilometers. Dr. Salim Ali bird sanctuary is a mangrove forest and houses not just local but exotic migratory birds as well. Apart from a rich variety of coastal birds, one may spot flying foxes, jackals and crocodiles. A watch-tower has been erected in the Sanctuary for better viewing of birds. In order to visit this sanctuary, one must seek the permission of Chief Wild Life Warden, Forest Department of Panaji.
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
The Cotigao wildlife sanctuary is located in the Canacona district in south Goa. This sanctuary was established in the year 1969. It covers an area of 86 square kilometers and is the second largest sanctuary in Goa. If one wants to see forests with tall trees and rare plants, where hardly any light reaches the ground, Cotigao Sanctuary is the place to visit. It touches the border of Karnataka state and in the lean season, several gaurs are known to come into Cotigao from its neighborhood. The vegetation is mostly moist-deciduous type, interspersed with semi-evergreen and evergreen patches. There are six watchtowers in the sanctuary. Also there is one 'tree top;' it is situated about 20 meters high on a tree overlooking a waterhole. The animals come to Talpona River often to quench their thirst and can be viewed around evening or early morning from these watchtowers. The sanctuary also houses a Nature Interpretation Center that provides fascinating and valuable information about the wildlife here.
Visit some of the above wildlife sanctuaries during your holidays in Goa
to view the exotic wildlife and rare animal species available at the destination