Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary was earlier known as Mollem Game Sanctuary was subsequently renamed as Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary and lies on the eastern border of Goa, along the Western Ghats.
The area comprises of 240 sq. Km. of luxuriant vegetation which had been declared a sanctuary way back in 1969 and is situated in Sanguem Taluka. The National Highway 4A divides it into two parts and also the Mormugao – Londa railway line which passes through this area.
There are important geographical and historical features in this sanctuary. Jeeps on private arrangements go to the interior of the forest. Mahabir is particularly known for its Leopards, Elephants, Deers & Gaur Or Indian Bison.
Flora and Fauna:
Flora: This sanctuary falls within the biogeographical province 5A/5B and contains pristine vegetation which is classified into three main forest types, namely:
• West Coast Tropical Evergreen Forests
• West Coast Semi – Evergreen Forests
• Moist Deciduous Forests.
The predominant species are Terminalia, Lagerstromia, Xylia, Dalbergia etc. Due to luxuriant growth the canopy is almost closed and the availability of grass is very limited. The evergreen type of forests are mainly seen on higher altitudes and along the river banks. Because of the perennial sources of water within the sanctuary the availability of water is not a limiting factor as far as animals are concerned.
Though the settlement of rights and concessions has not still been done away with, certain private lands are still within the sanctuary and need to be acquired in due course of time.
Fauna: The fauna found in the sanctuary is as follows: Gaur, Panther, Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Wild Dog, Leopard Cat, Sambar, Bonnet Macaque, Common Langur, Jungle Cat, Civet, Flying Squirrel, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Pangolin, Slender Loris, etc. Occasionally, Tigers have also been seen, but the area is famous for King cobras though other snakes found are Python, Krait, Viper etc. as well as non-poisonous snakes. About 200 species of birds are found in the sanctuary of which the better known ones are Indian Black Woodpecker, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Paradise Fly Catcher, Fairy Blue Bird, Drongo, Wag tails, Barbets, Great Indian Horn Bill, Kingfishers, Shrikes, Emerald Dove, Grey Jungle Fowl etc.
Major Wildlife Attractions: Sanctuary is particularly known for its Leopards, Elephants, Deers & Gaur Or Indian Bison.
Best Time to Visit: From October to the mid of June. The weather during this time is very pleasant and charming.
How to Get there:
Air: The nearest airports is Dabolim airport, 80 kms.
Rail: The railhead closest to Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is Colem Raillway Station is 6 kms.
Road: From Kadamba Bus stand across the Patto / Qurrent creek 7-8 minutes walk at the entrance of the city on the bank of Mandvi River, from where regular buses ply to the sanctuary.
General Info / Tips
The climate in Ambapani Sanctuary is wet due to the proximity of the Bay of Bengal. It receives quite a bit of rainfall during the monsoons, which ranges form mid-June to September.