Eco-tourism in Kerala
The beach capital of India - Goa - has emerged also as a premier eco-tourism destination. The wildlife here is enriched with a fascinating diversity of wild life including birds and mammals. Estimates say that the region harbours some 48 types of mammals, 276 types of birds and 60 types of reptiles. Conservation of wildlife here is a premier concern of the government. Three wild life sanctuaries and one bird sanctuary were set up by the government. These locations revel in their scenic beauty, large tracts of wilderness and varieties of fauna. The most significant mammalian species here include bear, hyena, panther, deer, ox, wild boar, monkey, Indian elephant, squirrel, wild cat, sloth, bat and dolphin. Some common birds here include open bill stork, kingfisher, drongo, cormorant, coot, bulbul and weaver bird, vulture, kite, quail, hoopoe, dove and parrot. Major eco-tourism hubs in the state include the following ones.
Bhagvan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary - Molem
This wildlife sanctuary is located along the North-East border of Goa at Molem, which is about one-and-a-half hours' journey from Panaji (60 km) along Panaji Belgaum National Highway. It covers 240 sq. km of thick forest clad slopes of Western Ghats and its valleys. The biggest sanctuary of Goa is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts and specifically, bird watchers. Along with flora and fauna, there are also many important geological and historical features here. Dudh Sagar falls, around an hour's journey from Colem by train, offers a visual treat for the eyes. Another beautiful geological spot here is "Devil Canyon". One temple named as Tambdi Surla temple is around 13 km from Molem. Comfortable cottages and dormitories were built here by Department of Tourism for the tourists.
Placed 50 km from Panaji and 38 km from Margao, Bondla Forest is one of the three wildlife sanctuaries of Goa. It's not only a sanctuary but, in fact, an ideal jungle resort, which makes it a major attraction for nature lovers and children. The mini zoos, sprawling deer park in natural habitat, botanical and rose gardens located within the forest attract people throughout the year. The cottages available here for tourists are very comfortable. Zoological Park and garden at Bondla remain closed on Thursdays so ignore the day for inconvenience.
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary - Cotigao
This second largest wildlife sanctuary of the state is spread in an area of 106 sq. km. Located around 85 km from Panaji, 75 km from Dabolim airport and 50 km from Margao in Canacona Taluka in South Goa, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is nearly 3 km off the Panaji-Mangalore National Highway No. 17. This sanctuary is full of dense forests and varied wildlife, avian fauna and reptiles. Ages-old Jeevottam Partagal Math, known for Vedic studies, is located in the vicinity of the sanctuary. Efforts are being made to promote eco-tourism at Hatipal Eco-Tourism Complex. One nature interpretation centre with mini library is located in this complex.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary - Chorao, Panaji
Located at the western tip of the island of Chorao, this bird sanctuary is spread over 1.78 sq. km and set along river Mandovi near Panaji. Fully covered with mangrove species, it attracts large variety of local as well as migratory birds. You can visit this sanctuary any time of the year with the permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden of Forest Department. This bird sanctuary is easily approachable by walk after crossing over by ferry from Raibandar to Chorao. Some private parties take the tourists around in their canoes fitted with outboard motors. The list doesn't end here. The government has notified two additional wild life sanctuaries here viz. and Netrarali Wildlife Sanctuary at Sanguem and Model Wildlife Sanctuary at Valpoi.