The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary (खोतीगाव) is located in the Canacona
taluka of Goa
, in India
. Founded in 1968, this is the southernmost sanctuary in Goa. The sanctuary supports three forest types: Moist deciduous forests-the prevalent forest type, semi-evergreen forests, and evergreen forests. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from October to December. The sanctuary supports diverse life forms. It is noted for its animal and plant biodiversity. The lesser-known animals in the sanctuary include the flying squirrel, slender loris, Indian pangolin, mouse deer, four-horned antelope, Malabar pit viper, hump-nosed pit viper, white-bellied woodpecker, Malabar trogon, velvet-fronted nuthatch, heart-spotted woodpecker, speckled piculet, Malayan bittern, draco or flying lizard, golden-back gliding snake, and Malabar tree toad.
The sanctuary has eight well-laid-out nature trails traversing it. The length of the nature trails ranges from 500 metres to 5 kilometres. There are six watchtowers in the sanctuary. Also there is one 'tree top;' it is situated about 20 metres high on a tree overlooking a waterhole. Both the Gal and Talpona rivers of Canacona Taluka originate from the sanctuary. At the entrance to the sanctuary there is an ecotourism complex that houses the nature interpretation centre, cottages, toilets, library, reception area and rescue centre, canteen and range forest office. The sanctuary has been declared a plastic-free zone by the state government and violators are prosecuted with a fine. There are tribal (Velip) hamlets in and around the sanctuary. The Velip are very friendly people and one can interact with them during the visit to discover their lifestyle and culture.
There is also a rubber plantation within the sanctuary boundary limits where the processing of rubber is demonstrated. the sanctuary has small ecotourism complex situated at entrance about 300 mts from NH17 the ecotourism complex has basic amenities for visitors which includes Cottages, Canteen facility, Amphitheatre, children's park, cycling trail and gardens. it also house small rescue centre for deer and snakes. the ambience of the area is very rejuvenating and hospitality of staff makes the place and stay memorable. Food is hygienic and reasonable, but orders for food need to be given in advance. One air-conditioned suite is there called Peacock Cottage, a beautiful villa in nicely set-up surroundings with its own courtyard.
The sanctuary is situated about 3 km from the ecotourism complex by road but the forest area is continuous, the early morning walk in sanctuary area is rewarding and can witness rich bird life of the area. Sighting big animals is difficult because of dense vegetation. sighting is difficult only when animals come in open sighting of animals is there. Amid the treetops is a unique type of watchtower in the sanctuary. The watchtower is entirely balanced on trees and the climb is quite steep. The watch tower 20 m above ground level. It overlooks a water hole where animals come to drink.