The mere mention of Goa conjures up the image of a landscape dotted with golden beaches and sparkling seas. This fixation with beaches ensures that the rich wildlife in Goa often takes a backseat in tourists’ itineraries. But for those craving for a sip of nature, wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are definitely worth the effort.
The lofty Western Ghats mountains are endowed with a lush green canopy which is a haven for exotic species of flora and fauna. The wildlife sanctuaries of Goa have come up with the aim of providing safe refuge to endangered wildlife species. The four wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are as follows:
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Spread over an area of 8 sq. km., the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is the smallest among the wildlife reserves in Goa. Due to its relatively small area, the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is known more as a wildlife resort than a sanctuary. Within its confines, the Bondla sanctuary houses a botanical garden, a rose garden, deer safari park and a zoo, initially established as a refuge for injured or orphaned animals.
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats mountains, the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa. Spread over an area of 240 sq. km, the sanctuary was previously known as the Mollem Game Sanctuary, a designated wildlife reserve since 1969. The core zone of the sanctuary, comprising an area of 107 sq. km., was declared a National Park in 1978 and is known as the Mollem National Park.
Cotigao Wlidlife Sanctuary
Located on the Goa – Karnataka border, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is the second biggest wildlife reserve in Goa. The Cotigao Sanctuary, a designated reserve since 1969, sprawls over an area of 86 sq. km. The Talpona river meanders through the thick vegetation and serves as the perennial water source for the sanctuary.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Named after renowned ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali, this bird sanctuary is the abode of a myriad of bird species, both local and migratory. Encompassing an area of 1.8 sq. km, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is the smallest among the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. The small area notwithstanding, the sanctuary teems with the winged visitors who come here searching for the ideal habitat.