The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1969, is located in the Canacona district of South Goa, around 60 kms from Panaji. Easily accessible from the NH 17 this sanctuary is best visited during October to March. Covering an area of 86 sq. km. this sanctuary is the second largest in Goa.
Though the sanctuary was earlier famous for its wildlife, its tigers and leopards have been hunted out long ago, while the Gazelles, Sloth Bears, Porcupines, Panthers and Hyenas are present in the sanctuary, it is not always possible to see them. Various reptiles and monkeys can be easily spotted. Some of the famous birds are Rufus Woodpecker, white-eyed eagle and the Malabar crested eagle. A watchtower built on a 25m high treetop especially to view the animals who gather at the waterhole, adjacent to the Tapola river, is an excellent vantage point to spot the wildlife. A unique feature of the sanctuary is that the foliage is such, that it prevents all sunlight from reaching the ground level. On the flipside however, it also makes the atmosphere very hot and humid.
One can visit this sanctuary as a day trip, it is essential to arrange for your own vehicle as there is no provision for this. Food and drinks should also be well arranged as these facilities are not easily available. The Nature Interpretation Centre run by the Forest Dept. provides for some rudimentary camping arrangements like snake-proof camping sites, canvas tents, reference material and loads of goodwill. They can also provide cots and mosquito-nets. They also have one two-bedded suite available at Poinguinim, 2 km. away from the Sanctuary, however, since it is limited, it is best to book in advance if you wish to spend the night there. Ideal for a day trip, this sanctuary can provide respite from the concrete jungles of today’s cities.