Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary & Mollem National Park
Location : Sanguem Taluka
Area : 240 sq. Km.
Uniqueness : Thick forest clad the slopes of the Western Ghats that is rich in wildlife and a paradise for bird watchers. Police Outpost at the gateway of the sanctuary in calm and quiet surroundings is like a painting on a canvas in Malem. There are important geographical and historical features in this sanctuary. Jeeps on private arrangements go to the interior of the forest. Mahabir is particularly known for its Leopards, Elephants, Deers & Gaur Or Indian Bison.
Flora : The predominant species are Terminalia, Lagerstromia, Xylia, Dalbergia etc. Due to luxuriant growth the canopy is almost closed and the availability of grass is very limited.
Fauna : The fauna found in the sanctuary is as follows: Gaur, Panther, Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Wild Dog, Leopard Cat, Sambar, Bonnet Macaque, Common Langur, Jungle Cat, Civet, Flying Squirrel, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Pangolin, Slender Loris, etc. Occasionally, Tigers have also been seen, but the area is famous for King cobras though other snakes found are Python, Krait, Viper etc. as well as non-poisonous snakes. About 200 species of birds are found in the sanctuary of which the better known ones are Indian Black Woodpecker, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Paradise Fly Catcher, Fairy Blue Bird, Drongo, Wag tails, Barbets, Great Indian Horn Bill, Kingfishers, Shrikes, Emerald Dove, Grey Jungle Fowl etc.
Accessibility : Panaji: 65 km. Dabolim airport: 80 km, Margao: 54km, Colem Rly. Stn: 6 km.
Season : October to April
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Location : Canacona Taluka
Area : 86 sq. km.
Uniqueness : If one wants to see multi-storied forests with tall trees and rare plants, where hardly any light reaches the ground, Cotigao Sanctuary is the place to go to. 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.
Flora : The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary stands out for its wealth of verdant forests and luxuriant green canopy. The vegetation in the sanctuary is mostly moist-deciduous type, with sporadic patches of semi-evergreen and evergreen forests.
Fauna : If you are in search of a sanctuary teeming with a plethora of wildlife species, Cotigao will disappoint you. The sparse animal population consists of Gazelles, Sloth Bears, Porcupines, Panthers, Hyenas, Wild Boars and Indian Bisons. The common winged visitors include rufous woodpeckers, white-eyed eagles and the Malabar crested eagle.
Accessibility : Panaji: 85 km, Dabolim airport: 75 km, Margao: 50 km. Poinguinim, 2 km away, is the nearest town. Poinguinim is 10 km away from Chaudi, the main town of Cancacona on NH17.
Season : October to March
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Location : Usgao Tisk village in North Goa
Area : 80 sq. km
Uniqueness : It boasts of a Mini Zoo, Deer Safari Park, Formal Gardens, Botanic Gardens and Eco-Tourism Cottages. It is connected to Ponda as well as Molem by a good tar-road. Late evenings and nights are very pleasant. Bondla is a Paradise for Eco-Tourists. If you are lucky you may see Deers on the road itself.
Flora : The area is covered with Moist Deciduous Forests, with small patches of Evergreens and Canes along the nullahs. The State Tree Terninalia crenulata (Matti) and Rosewood are common here. Others are Lagerstroemia (Naked Maiden of the Forest / Nano), Kindall, Jamba, Mimusops, Saraca indica etc. The thorny bamboo Bambusa arundinacea and Giant Lianas (Entada) abound.
Fauna : :Gaur the state animal is frequently seen. The Panther is the largest carnivore and the Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Toddy Cat are others. Herbivorous consist of Deers (Sambar, Spotted, Hog, Barking and Mouse) Wild Boar, Porcupines Scaly Ant Eater, and Malabar Giant Squirrel. The diminutive Flying lizard (Draco) is fairly common. Over a hundred species of birds are residents. The State Bird (Ruby Throated Yellow Bulbul) can be seen... and the Common Grey Hornbill and Golden Backed Woodpecker are daily visitors to the Garden.
Accessibility : Well connected by roads. Better to hire taxis and come here, though it might be a little expensive.
Season : October to March
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Location : Western tip of the island of Chorao
Area : 1.8sq km
Flora : The flora of the sanctuary largely consists of mangrove shrubbery.
Fauna: Among the local birds are kingfishers, grey-headed mynas, eagles, egrets, kites, pheasant-tailed jacanas, common sandpipers, red-wattled lapwings, green bee-eaters and tailor birds. The migratory birds include purple moorhen, storks, cormorants, mallards and pintail ducks. If luck is on your side, you may even spot rare animals like the Indian rock python, the flying fox and the Indian otter.
Accessibility: Panaji: 5 km, Margao: 40 km, Bicholim: 18 km. Air: Dabolim is the nearest airport, 29 km from Panaji. Boat: Take a bus or a cab from Panaji to the Ribandar ferry wharf and then take a ferry across the Mandovi River to the island of Chorao.
Best Time to Visit: September to June