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Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

At the southern tip of Goa, located in the Canacona taluka, lies the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. It is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa and covers an area of 86sq. kilometres. Goa is known for its wild beaches and shacks but ecotourism is catching on very fast and Goa is gaining popularity in this region due to its natural forest cover. The Cotigao Wildlife sanctuary was established in 1969 and is about 60 kilometres from Panaji.

Goa lies in west India and has lush green tropical evergreen forests with moist deciduous trees; this type of flora supports a wide range of animals from tiny microbes to large bisons. The forests here have multi-storeyed trees with a tree cover so dense that hardly any sunlight reaches the ground, making it an ideal place for all types of snakes. The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary lies on the National Highway Number 17 and touches the Karnataka border, thereby making entrance into the sanctuary rather convenient.

The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is run by the forest department and has a nature interpretation centre here run by the government. The forest department provides basic camping gear to all nature enthusiasts like snake proof camping sites, tents and other materials, but there is no provision for food and it is essential to carry some even when you go there on a one day tour.

The fauna at the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary consists of monkeys, gaurs and wild boars, which are the commonly sighted animals, while the leopards and tigers were hunted out long ago. The rare sightings are of hyenas, sloth bears, gazelles, porcupines and panthers which live in the core dense forest and rarely come out. The smaller animals here are the the white-bellied woodpecker, flying squirrel, velvet-fronted nuthatch, slender loris, golden-back gliding snake ,Indian pangolin, mouse deer, Malabar pit viper, hump-nosed pit viper, four-horned antelope, heart-spotted woodpecker, flying lizard and Malabar tree toad.

The sanctuary has a twenty five metre high watch tower and from this tower you can see some of the animals at dawn and at dusk. The animals come to one of the water holes at that time. With many birds and snakes the nature trail is very interesting, while walking amidst the thick deciduous forest cover you get to see many rare trees and some wildlife for sure.

The forest department has a two bedded suit at Poiguinim which is about two kilometres from the sanctuary, but this has to be booked well in advance. When you are in Goa along with the beach life you could experience the wildlife at Cotigao Wildlife sanctuary. You will also get to see the tribal life of the Velip tribals who live within the sanctuary. The sanctuary also has a rubber plantation, which is worth a visit. All these little natural wonders make your visit to this sanctuary worthwhile.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/04

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