AimPAs of Goa forming a contiguous habitat with forests of Karnataka and Maharashtra are crucial for long term sustenance of tiger and other large mammals.With over 90 mines operating near wildlife sanctuaries,Goa forests face great pressure.There’s been no rigorous assessment on status of large mammals in these forests which hampers conservation efforts.We surveyed 700 km2 of forests along Western Ghats in Goa to determine presence of large carnivores and their prey.
MethodsIntensive reconnaissance surveys and a pilot camera trap survey was carried out for a 4 month period (between Feb-June 2013) in Mhadei, Molem, Bhagwan Mahavir, Netravali, and, Cotigao wildlife sanctuaries.
ResultsPresence of Tiger was established in Mhadei wildlife sanctuaries with photo captures and other indirect evidences such as scat, tracks, and scrape marks. Further, direct sighting as well of photographs were obtained for leopards, bears, wild dogs and all large prey (gaurs, sambar, chital, wild boar and muntjac) at all sanctuaries.
ConservationOur preliminary surveys show immense potential of these forests to maintain a healthy population of large felids in the region, besides supporting other charismatic large fauna. It is important to sustain positive management measures initiated by Goa Forest Department in recent years to consolidate this critical patch of forests that ensure the integrity of Malenad-Mysore Tiger landscape spanning 5 states in south India.