Goa is home to rich and varied wildlife destinations, which makes the state a fabulous place for nature lovers. A number of Goa wildlife sanctuary locations are spread across the state, providing a fascinating diversity of flora and fauna and terrain. These sanctuaries attract many tourists with their stunning landscapes, astonishing rock formations and diverse array of flora and fauna.
The wildlife sanctuaries in Goa provide natural habitats for monkeys, deer, python, Malayan giant squirrels and gaurs. You can also witness tigers and elephants here. The country is blessed with over 1500 varieties of plants, 48 species of animals, 60 types of reptiles and 275 kinds of birds. All this wildlife can be found in different forest areas in Goa. The Goa Wildlife Sanctuary list includes Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mahavir Wildlife Santuary and Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Indeed, Goa is a true paradise, not only ideal for wildlife enthusiasts, bird watchers and nature lover, but for people who want to escape the pollution, buildings and noise of city life.
Covering an area of 8 square kilometers, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is the smallest natural preserve in Goa, located above the verdant hills of Western Ghats. A true nature paradise, it is situated close to Usgao, at the intersection of Sanguem, Ponda and Sattari Talukas. The Mandovi River runs on the north while Rangado River is on the east. Flora in Bondla mostly consist of decidous forests melded with evergreen forests. You may take a walk on the green lawns of the botanical and rose garden and witness different varieties of plants. Hiking along Bondla Sanctuary, you will find a mini zoo where you can see a number of wild animals such as deer, gaur, wild boar, bison, jackals, peacocks, leopards, pythons, toddy cats and sloth bears. There is also a crocodile field and an area for bird watching. The elephant ride is a major highlight in the sanctuary for children and adults alike.
Located in the east of Canacona Taluka, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary occupies 85.65 square kilometers of deciduous woodland. Talpona River can be seen springing through the sanctuary while on the southeast border runs the Galjibaga River. Vegetation in Cotigao mainly consists of moist deciduous trees, some even reaching towering to 30-meter heights. Wildlife in Cotigao is quite limited due to rampant hunting years ago, particularly for leopards and tigers. However, you can still spot wild creatures like porcupines, hyenas, gazelles, Black Panther, deer and langur.
Known for its vast number of exotic birds, the 1.8-square kilometer Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is an ideal place for bird lovers planning to take a trip to Goa. Located on the Chorao Island, in Tiswadi Taluka, some of the major attractions in this forest sanctuary include Pintail ducks, Purple Moorhen, Storks, Mallards and Cormorants. On the western tip are the mangrove swamps where most of the migratory birds can be seen. Often called a Bird-Watcher’s Paradise, this is named after Dr. Salim Ali, a famous Indian ornithologist.
The fourth Goa Wildlife Sanctuary is the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, the biggest in Goa and covering an area of 240 square kilometers. Located in Collem Village, Sanguem Taluka, this sanctuary is an ideal habitat for a wide variety of avian species and wildlife with its dense forest that ranges from moist deciduous to evergreen. Some of the nearby attractions here include the Dudhsagar Waterfall, the Devil’s Canyon, Tambdi Surla and the Ecotourism Wing.