The rugged western ghats make it an ideal haven for many species of birds and animals. Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Bhagvan Mahavir Sanctuary, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary are some of the wild life sanctuaries of Goa.
List of Wildlife Sanctuaries of Pearly Goa
The beautiful amalgamation of rugged Western Ghats and the evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous foliage make it an ideal haven for several species of birds and animals in Goa. These sanctuaries of the Western Ghats offer pristine and thrilling views of speckled species of flora and fauna, especially between October and March. Welcome to the wildlife sanctuaries of Goa!
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Goa
Location & Geography: Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary exclusively enjoys mangrove plantation in India. It rests on the western tip of the island of Goa – Chorao/Choddnnem- along the Mandovi River.
History: Established in 1988 on the sprawling area of 1.8 sq. km, this bird sanctuary is named after the eminent Indian ornithologist, Dr. Sálim Moizuddin Abdul Ali.
Flora & Fauna: This sanctuary provides shelter to 400 different species of birds. The local and migratory birds welcome you with their open, flapping wings. You can enjoy the beautiful views of Western Reef Heron, Striated Herons, Little Bittern, Black Bittern, Red Knot, Jack Snipe or Pied Avocet perched on treetops, in flight motion or feeding their fledglings. The Mudskippers and Fiddler Crabs are your companions on the sandy shores.
Transportation: Hop onto a ferry from Panjim to arrive at Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. You can take the ferry from Ribandar Ferry-dock. The reception of this sanctuary is located at Chorao jetty across the ferry-ramp.
Accommodation: This bird sanctuary has several accommodation options, from budget to luxury hotels or perhaps you would prefer a stay in the colonial Portuguese bungalows/cottages.
Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa
Location & Geography: The Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Sanguem Taluka, South Eastern Goa. It covers an area of 211.05 sq. km. Netravali (Neturli) is an important tributary of River Zuari that originates in this sanctuary and hence the name.
Flora & Fauna: The sanctuary contains moist deciduous vegetation interspersed with evergreen and semi-evergreen habitat and numerous perennial streams that sustains a good mammal population. On one hand, the Indian Bison, Four-Horned Antelopes or Indian Giant Squirrels will delight you.
On the other hand, the leopard, King Cobras and Black Sloth Bears will thrill you. On a good day, you can also witness some rarely seen birds of India. A variety of delicate and beautiful butterflies will delight your senses, too.
Transportation: To reach this sanctuary, ride in a taxi from the Dabolim airport, Margao railhead or Panaji city. You can hop on a bus from any of these places, too!
Accommodation: You may stay in the forest rest houses of GTDC. You may also stay in the resorts or beach houses of Sanguem.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, , Goa
Location & Geography: Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Ponda Taluka, northeastern Goa. This smallest wildlife sanctuary of Goa is spread in sprawling area of 8 sq. km.
During summers, the temperature here reaches 40° C. While even in the coldest nights/days of winters, temperature does not dip below 15° C. The area receives average to heavy rainfall. The best time to visit here is between June to October.
History: This wildlife resort was initially a sanctuary to injured or orphaned animals. It now contains a Nature Education Centre, Deer Safari Park, Rose garden, zoo and a botanical garden. It is a popular destination for both tourists and schoolchildren and well equipped to entertain both day-trippers and overnight visitors.
Flora & Fauna: Ponda Taluka is covered in moist deciduous forestation with a few patches of evergreen vegetation. Some of the common trees found here include the State tree of Goa Terminalia Crenulata (Matti) and Rosewood. Inside the sanctuary, you find a variety of orchids, medicinal herbs, roots and trees in its botanical garden.
The animals who have made their home here include Wild Boar, Bison, Gaur, Deer, Jackals, Porcupines, Leopards, Sloth-Bears, Elephants and Toddy Cats. The crocodiles and snakes will entertain you from their enclosed territories. A variety of beautiful birds will delight you from treetops.
Transportation: Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance from 48 km from Dabolim airport and 38 km from Margao railhead and 47 km from Panaji. You can hire bus or taxi from any of these locations to reach the sanctuary.
Accommodation: Several budget and premium resorts and hotels are available near Bondla Sanctuary for your stay.
Bhagwan Mahaveer / Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa
Location & Geography: Cozily nestled along the lush Western Ghats, Mahaveer sanctuary and Mollem national park is located in East Goa. A sprawling area of 240 sq. km, this largest wildlife sanctuary of Goa has geological and historical facets like the Doodhsagar Waterfalls and the Devil’s Canyon.
History: The Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1969. It was previously known as Mollem Game Sanctuary. Its core area of 107 sq. km was notified as Mollem National Park in 1978. It contains several important temples dating to the Kadamba Dynasty.
Flora & Fauna: You may visualize the wildlife atop the Devil’s Canyon. It is a beautiful river gorge of basalt-rock. The Black Panthers, Bonnet Macaque, Flying Squirrel, Leopard Cats, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, King cobras, Krait, Python and Viper are the stars of this sanctuary. There are over 200 species of birds, here.
Transportation: You may hire a taxi from Colem railway station (6 km). You may also avail buses from Kadama bus-station of Panaji (53 km).
Accommodation: You may stay at luxurious GTDC spa resort of Mollem. You may also choose from other deluxe or economic hotels.
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa
Location & Geography: Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is located on Goa-Karnataka border in Canacona Taluka, South Goa. The Talpona River flows through its 86 sq.km sprawling area. The region supports moist deciduous trees, semi-evergreen trees, and evergreen trees.
History: In 1969, it was awarded the sanctuary status. A treetop watchtower positioned at 25 meters above a watering hole invites animals for a drink. The best times to visit the watchtower are dawn and dusk when animals visit, here.
Flora & Fauna: The Nature Interpretation Centre of this sanctuary will unfold mysteries of wildlife in front of you. It is the best place to watch Black Panthers, Hyenas, Gazelles, Sloth Bears, Wild Boars, Porcupines and Indian Bison. The Malabar-Crested and White-Eyed eagles along with Rufous Woodpeckers are the commonly seen birds.
Transportation: Taxis and buses are available from Canacona railhead (2 km). You may also reach this sanctuary by road from Chaudi (12 km) or Palolem beach (12 km).
Accommodation: This sanctuary has an eco-tourism complex that offers accommodation. Alternatively, book a tent at Hattipal Gate Eco-Tourism Complex for an adventurous night-stay. You may also stay in hotels, resorts and guest houses in Canacona.
Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa
Location & Geography: The protected area of Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across an area of 208 sq. km. It is located near the Valpoi town of Sanguem Taluk in North Goa district. This sanctuary earned its stripes in 1999.
Flora & Fauna: The dense vegetation of this sanctuary contains over thousand species of flowering plants and rare endemic orchids. The Royal Bengal Tigers are its star attractions. The commonly spot animals are Gaur, Sloth Bears, Wild Dogs, Slender Loris, Deers and Panthers. This sanctuary has 255-recorded species of birds and 257 recorded species of butterflies.
Transportation: You may avail buses or taxis from Sattari rail-station or bus-stand (35 km). You may hire a taxi from Dabolim airport (80 km).
Accommodation: You may stay inside the camps arranged by forest authorities. The hotels and resorts of varying ranges are also available in Sanguem.