Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Canacona : Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Goa's second-largest wildlife sanctuary is at Cotigao. It's terrain is fairly plain, with hills in the south and east -- at one very end of Goa. Much of the sanctuary is covered with dense forests, with a few open grass lands. Forest crown density is often over 50%. Some trees, Goa's loftiest, touch 30 metres. If you go with the intention of seeing some of India’s legendary fauna here, then you could be in for a disappointment, as spotting the more famous wild animals is not extremely common. But the expansive forestland is a welcome change.
Flora and fauna
Cotigao is near Poinguinim, some 44 km from Margao. Take the Panjim to Margao road (32 km), onto Canacona (36.8 km) and further down for seven km on NH17 upto Poinguinim. At the left is a bold entrance board to the sanctuary. Some two km further is the sanctuary gate at Shristhal. Entry between 7AM and 5.30PM.
Expect difficulty in spotting animals due to the dense undergrowth, and the fact that they could be scattered across this sanctuary's 86 sq km. You'll need patience and getting atop one of the watch-towers. Villagers have reported sighting tigers, according to officials. Birds are aplenty. Some 200 species could be spotted, given time and patience. These include the Indian Pied Hornbill, Larger Golden Backed Woodpecker and the Great Indian Woodpecker.
Check out the Nature Interpretation Centre, at the entrance of the sanctuary. Accommodation available at the Ecotourism Complex at Hattipal. The Forest Department's scenic but simple rest-house is on the Poinguinim highway, some 4 km away. Contact the Deputy Conservator of Forests (South Goa) at Margao on tel 2735361. This place has a four-bed capacity. If food is needed, you'll need to arrange in advance.