Goa Goes Wild!

Into the wild

Text: Amina M Azad 
Pics: Google Images

The wildlife in Goa is not mainly restricted to its beaches and nightclubs but rather extends into the hinterlands. If you are an avid wildlife enthusiast, Goa is an absolute playground with wildlife sanctuaries all around. All you need is a good set of wheels, a great guide, and binoculars to enjoy the many unique animals and birds that call Goa home. Here are the 5 you simply have to spot before you head out looking for big cats.

Gaur
The Gaur, also called Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine, found in the country. These majestic gentle creatures are among the largest living land animals and the Western Ghats and their outflanking hills in southern India constitute one of the most extensive extant strongholds of the species.

Kingfisher
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 13 species which occur in India and 8 in Goa. Don't be surprised if you are lounging by the pool and flash of blue swoops in for a sip. If you’re a birding enthusiast then see if you can identify these different varieties of the Goa kingfishers :Common kingfisher, Blue-eared kingfisher, Black-backed kingfisher, Stork billed kingfisher, White-throated kingfisher, Black-capped kingfisher, Pied kingfisher & the Collared kingfisher.

Bulbul
Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colorful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throats or super cilia, or with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests. There are 130 species worldwide and 19 species which occur in India and 7 in Goa. See if you can spot any of these in your backyard... Grey-headed bulbul, Flame-throated bulbul, Red-whiskered bulbul, Redvented bulbul, White-browed bulbul, Yellow-browed bulbul, and the Square-tailed black bulbul.

Lion - tailed macaque
One of the rarest of monkeys in India, and part of the world’s 25 most endangered primates, the Lion – Tailed Macaque looks distinct from all other monkeys because of its dark fur color and the fact that it has a lion style mane around its neck and a bushy lion tail. The call of the male lion-tailed macaque is said to resemble a human voice and is often heard in the deep dark corners of the Western Ghats.

Monitor Lizard
It looks like a cross between a dragon and a crocodile and is one gentle soul trudging along the forests of Goa. A monitor lizard can go to the size of a medium sized dog and is usually found in forests surrounding Goa. Monitor lizards are thought to be fairly intelligent animals, with some people claiming that monitor lizards are able to recognize numbers up to six, therefore meaning that monitor lizards are able to count! These smart creatures mainly use their intelligence in the wild by surveying areas for oncoming danger and for hunting their prey. A poacher’s prey, Monitor Lizard is a protected species in Goa.

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