The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, 10-km southeast of Chaudi,
was established in 1969 to protect a remote and vulnerable area of forest
lining the Goa-
border. Encompassing 86-sq-kms 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.
Visitors however, stand a good chance of spotting at least two species of Monkey, a couple of Wild Boar and the Odd Gaur. The sanctuary is best visited between October and March months. Cotigao is a peaceful and scenic park that makes a pleasant day trip from Palolem, 12-km northwest. The wardens at the reserve's small Interpretative Centre will show one how to get to a 25m-high treetop watchtower, overlooking a waterhole that attracts a handful of animals around dawn and dusk.
Road: Any of the buses running south on NH-14 to Karwar via Chaudi will drop one within 2-km of the gates. However, to explore the inner reaches of the sanctuary, one really needs one's own transport.
Written permission for an overnight stay, either in the
watchtower or the forest department's small rest house must be obtained
from the Deputy Conservator Of Forests, 3rd Floor, Junta House, Panjim, as
far in advance of one's visit as possible. If one gets stuck, however, the
wardens can arrange a tent, blankets and basic food.