India // Goa //

Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, 10km southeast of Chaudi, was established in 1969 to protect a remote and vulnerable area of forest lining the Goa–Karnataka border. Best visited between October and March, Cotigao is a peaceful and scenic park that makes a pleasant day-trip from Palolem, 12km northwest. Encompassing 86 square kilometres of mixed deciduous woodland, the reserve is certain to inspire tree lovers, but less likely to yield many wildlife sightings: its tigers and leopards were hunted out long ago, while the gazelles, sloth bears, porcupines, panthers and hyenas that allegedly lurk in the woods rarely appear. You do, however, stand a good chance of spotting at least two species of monkey, a couple of wild boar and the odd gaur (the primeval-looking Indian bison), as well as plenty of birdlife.

A network of trails winds from the trailhead 3km beyond the centre to various named sites in the forest, but aren’t way-marked and are very hard to follow. It is worth noting that most visitors complain about walking for hours without seeing anything of interest.