Want to experience nature close-hand? See the jungle and its wildlife as you take a stroll? Then, head to Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa. Spread over just about eight sq km in size, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is a prominent eco-tourism destination in the former Portugese colony more known for its beaches, churches and colonial relics. With well developed tourist facilities, Bondla sanctuary is a favourite with children and nature lovers. In addition to the sanctuary, Bondla zoo, deer safari and botanical gardens are its other attractions. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary cottages and dormitories provide tourists with comfortable stay options right next to the sanctuary.
The most common animals that inhabit the sanctuary are the Gaur, Goa’s state animal, Sambhar deer, panther, jungle cat, leopard, toddy cat, wild boar, porcupine, scaly anteater, and the Malabar giant squirrel. Watch-towers placed at vantage points in the sanctuary provide opportunities to observe the wildlife from close range. The area is covered with moist deciduous forests and small patches of evergreens. The sanctuary is also home to over a hundred bird species. Ruby throated yellow bulbul, the state bird, the common grey hornbill and golden backed woodpecker are some of the bird species commonly seen in the park.
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The mini zoo is a favourite with young and adults. The deer park is home to a size-able number of deers including the spotted deer, hog deer, barking deer and the mouse deer also known as Chevrotain. The botanical gardens with spacious lawns, exotic trees and colourful flowers are other attractions in the park. The large collection of plants in the sanctuary attracts a large number of botany students and researchers.
The Nature Education Center within the sancutary houses several exhibits which visitors could interpret. The center has an attached library which provides details about various animals while video and movies are also screened on request. Bondla is also ideal for trekking. The trails through the forests are best to experience nature close hand.
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Tourists usually visit the sanctuary in the evenings and nights. Staying at the sanctuary is not a problem as the Bondla wildlife sanctuary cottages run by the forest department offer comfortable accommodation. Bondla wildlife sanctuary is closed on Thursdays. The sanctuary has been developed with a view to accommodate day as well as overnight visitors. It has ecotourism cottages, which can accommodate 24 persons and 2 dormitories with a total of 48 beds.
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