Established in 1969, Catigao Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Canacona Taluk, South east of Goa. It is on NH – 17 bordering Goa – Karnataka border. The sanctuary comprises of some of the highest hills of the west region covered with moist deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen forests. The total area of the sanctuary is 85.65 sq. km. It is bounded by Anshi National Park to the southeast in Karnataka and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary to the northwest.
Catigao has an eco-tourism complex called Hathipal, which contains a reception area, animal rescue center, canteen, rest rooms, library, cottages and a forest range office. The forest department will provide facilities like snake-proof camping sites, tents and suggestions for tourists who prefer to camp inside the forests. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from October to March. Even though we visited this forest in October we could spot few languars, woodpeckers and snakes, maybe because we were there during midday. But the drive and trek into the forests is mesmerizing.
This sanctuary is a perfect place for trees, birds and animal lovers. The forest is home to wild animals like Indian Bison/Gaur, Barking deer, Sambar, Sloth Bear and Black Panther. Some rear birds like Shama, Crested Serpent Eagle, Malabar great Hornbill, Great Black Woodpecker etc., are spotted here. Slithering reptiles like King Cobra, Monitor Lizard, Flying Lizard, Banded Gecko etc., find the dense forests a perfect place to dwell.
Two rivers Talpona and Galjibaga originate in these forests. There are 8 well laid out trekking trails in the sanctuary, which ranges from 500 meters to 5 kilometers. There are 6 watchtowers conveniently constructed near water holes to get a better sight of forests and spot wild animals. The Tree Top Watch tower at Bhutpal inside the Sanctuary is built 20 meters high on top of a Lagerstroemia tree and provides a panoramic view of the water hole below. Another beautiful location inside the forest is Lake Bela, which is just 2.5 kilometers from Hathipal.
Velip tribals reside inside these forests. A rubber plantation is also situated within the sanctuary, where the extraction of rubber is demonstrated to curious visitors. The sanctuary is a plastic and noise free zone and violators are penalized with a fine.
You can also visit Galgibag beach, which attracts the Olive Ridley Turtle to nest here during October and March and also Jeevottam Partagal Math a holy institute to study Vedas/Hindu scripts for priests.
The other wild life and bird sanctuaries of Goa are –
Mollem National Park, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary at Sanguem
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary at Ponda
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Tiswadi
Madei Wildlife Sanctuary at Sattari
Type of Place: Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated: In South Goa in Canancona Taluk
Distance: 12 kms from Chaudi/Canancona, 85 kms from Panjim, 50 kms from Margao, 12kms from Palolem beach
Transport: Nearest airport Dabolim is 82 kms, nearest rail head Chaudi is 10 kms away, Buses stop at Poinguinim, which is 2kms away from the sanctuary.
Staying Options: Cottages maintained by the forest department inside the eco-tourism complex Hatipal.
Facilities: Canteen, Rest rooms, Cottages, Camping Equipment are available
For more details and reservations contact:
Range Forest Officer
Cotigao Wildlife Sancturay,
Canacona – Goa
0832 – 296560
Asst. Conservator of Forests/ Dy. Conservator of Forests and wildlife warden
Wildlife and Ecotourism
3rd Floor, Junta House, Panaji – Goa
Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden
Gomantak Maratha Samaj Building
Panaji – Goa