The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in the Sattari Taluka of North Goa is one of Goa’s exquisite wildlife sanctuaries and boasts of 209 sq. km of thick dense Western Ghats forests, abundant with both plant and animal life.
Densely covered with magnificent semi-evergreen, mixed moist deciduous and evergreen forests types, the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary comprises of high rising mountains, vibrant streams, a rich bio-diversity of life forms all waiting to be explored and appreciated.
From the spongy leaf litter on the forest floor to the thick dense tree canopy, these enchanting forests support wildlife of all shapes, sizes and designs that one can marvel at. Abuzz with life at every nook and cranny, the visitor is always treated with the mellifluous notes of birds singing in the tree canopy and the soft murmuring of insects and amphibians that abound in the forest floor.
That these ancient forests are the cachement area of the Mhadei River, better known as the Mandovi’s Lifeline is another great reason for visiting these forests as they sustain and support the very state that we so proudly call ‘Goa’.
Amongst the larger wildlife, the lucky few are able to spot the Indian Gaur (Goa’s State animal), the leopard, wild pig, jackal, sloth bear, bonnet macaques, sambhar, Wild dog, mouse deer, giant squirrel etc as the thick undergrowth of vegetation camouflages these elusive creatures efficiently making sightings poor.
But for those who believe that small is beautiful, these forests support an array of lesser known fauna which includes spiders like the Tunnel Wolf Spider and the Giant Wood Spider, centipedes like the Tiger Coral centipede and an amazing variety of ants like the Fortress ants and the Golden Backed ants.
That fascinating reptiles like the Malabar Pit Viper, Ornate Gliding Snake, King cobra, the Gliding Draco and the Forest terrapin are also encountered is a proven fact along with a diverse species of frogs including the Malabar Gliding Frog, the Indian toad, bronzed frog and others whose echoing vocals reciprocate through the forest on the arrival of every visitor, as if welcoming them to this natural paradise.
For the keen birdwatcher, the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is a dream come true as over 120 plus species of birds have been documented here including the state bird of Goa the Ruby Throated Yellow bulbul, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, the Racket tailed drongo, crested serpent eagle, Malabar whistling thrush etc.
Besides which these forests are a riot of flying colors thanks to the 70 plus species of butterflies documented here including the Blue Oakleaf, southern Birdwing and the Plane butterflies. And yes, with the who’s who of the moth world making their presence felt here like the Atlas Moth and the Lunar moth, an insect aficionado would fall in love with these forests at first sight, thanks to a varied diversity of beetles, damselflies and other lesser known creatures.
Amongst the tourist attractions, the Ladkyacho falls are the favorite, being the highest waterfalls in North Goa, cascading down with majesty and set against thick dense evergreen forests, these falls are Goa’s pride possession. Another important location for tourists is the Lord Brahamadev temple with the icon of Lord Brahma the only one of its kind in the state. Exquisitely carved stone carvings, panels and icons amidst sacred groves traditional temples etc make this sanctuary a unique place for visitors.
AndÂ while other places like the Satregad, Mauxi rock art carvings, Vagheri hills etc., are locations that need to be experienced rather than described these forests are full of vibrant natural wonders and surprises waiting to be experienced and cherished for all to come.
How to get there
The Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is approachable by road from Valpoi and different villages that are on the fringes on the sanctuary have motorable roads leading to them. New explorers to this sanctuary could ask the Range Forest Officer at Valpoi Range for details and suggestions on routes and sites of interests.
The villages of Nanode, Satre, Derode, Surla Brahmakarmali, are all places of exquisite natural and cultural diversity and are a must to see if one has to get a glimpse of the riches of this important sanctuary.