Goa is a state which is gifted with incredible natural beauty; from her beaches and gently rolling hill to her vegetation and animal life. To protect some of this natural beauty from rush of modern development, Goa has set aside four wild-life sanctuaries nested in the wooded areas of in-land Goa. The rich, varied and vibrant avenues available to nature lovers, or bird-watchers, or wildlife. Together wildlife cover an area of 755 square km, or around 60 per cent of forest area and 20 per cent of the geographical area of the state. Though Madei and Netravali have been notified, they have not been taken over by the wildlife wing from the territorial division.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Up in the lush foothills of the Western Ghats, Bondla is good place to see Sambar and Wild Boar. It is Smallest of the Goan Wildlife Sanctuaries . Its areas is eight square kilometers but easiest one to reach. It is 52km from Panaji and 38km from Margoa. This botanical garden, fenced deer park and zoo which is better than most, with reasonably spacious enclosures. The zoo was originally established to house orphaned animals, but it's now also breeding colony for large species of deer. It covers 8 sq.kms of deciduous forest Bondla is a miniature zoo of caged animals and birds and a popular picnic destination for locals. Elephant rides are an attraction here. The hills to the southeast are populated by monkeys, wild boar, deer, gaur, langurs, jackals, pythons and leopards. Bondla is also another bird-watching haven like its counterparts at Chorao and Cotigao. Rangado river flows on the east of this forest and Madhel on its north. Bondla forest nest bison, wild beer, deer, leopard, various type of serpent and birds. On to its way, the only mosque Safa Shahouri Masjid built by Ali Adilshah in 1560 can be seen at Ponda.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
On the western tip to the island of Chorao along River Mandovi, migratory and local birds inhabit the mangroves. Visitors are allowed entry with prior permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden who is stationed at Forest Department, Junta House, 18th June Road, Panaji cross over from Ribandar to Chorao by ferry or canoe and walk to the sanctuary. Mangrove swamps cover this bird-watchers' paradise aptly named after India's best known ornithologist. Open throughout the year, the sanctuary can be visited with the permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden, Forest Department, Junta House, Panaji. Apart from a rich variety of coastal birds, one may spot flying foxes, jackals and crocodiles.
Cotigoa Wildlife Sanctuary
The second largest of the three wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, with an area of 105 sq. Kms. is at Canacona 60kms south of Panaji. Bird, animals, reptiles are found in large numbers here. "Jeevottam Partagal Math" the centre of Vedic studies, lies in the vicinity, as is the temple of Mallikarjun built by the Kshatriyas in the mid 16 century. It famous for the intricately carved wooden pillars and 68 auxiliary deities. The main festival of this temple is Ratha-Saptami in February and Shigmo in April.
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
Along the north from Panaji on the road to Belgaum, is a sanctuary that covers 240sq.kms. Thick forest clads the slopes of the Western Ghats that is rich in wildlife and a paradise for bird watchers. There are important geographical and historical features in this sanctuary. The famous temple of Tambdisurla of the Kadambas is situated 13kms from here. Molem has comfortable cottages and dormitories built by the Directorate of Tourism.