Issue No. 1 February 2010
towards green sunrise......
In This Issue
Wildlife Sanctuary CREATURE
TUSSAR SILK MOTH
By Omkar Dharwadkar
We all came together when we were
studying in G.V.M’s Higher Secondary
About Us through the G.V.M’s Nature Study Circle
(GNSC). Guided by Mr. Ajay Dongre we
started our journey through jungle trails
by the magnificence of birds, we
turned towards photography as an
attempt to preserve their beauties.
But soon, our photography was not
just limited to birds and we started
to look out for whatever that can be
termed as wildlife. We eventually built
a big database of photographs and
decided to share those with people.
As a result, we
organized an exhibition
of Photographs at Kala
Academy Goa under GNSC.
Due to its great success with
around 1500 people visiting it in just three days, we
organized the exhibition at different places like schools
and colleges like the Chowgule College Margao.
Meanwhile, some of our members,
who were interested in fauna like
the snakes, took up the work of
rescuing snakes. Today a lot of our
members are involved in rescues
of snakes and other distressed wild
Recently, we have started
arranging activities like jungle
treks for public. Also we have
done awareness campaigns in
schools and higher
A word from Mitra......
We present you the first issue of our magazine.
We intend to make our readers aware of the natural wealth
possessed by our state Goa and rest of the Western Ghats.
This is our first attempt in doing so.
Western Ghats is one of the few biodiversity hotspot regions
of the world. It means that there are lots of endemic species
in Western Ghats and they are threatened.
Goa is endowed with pleasant environment, beautiful beaches
and a small part of Western Ghats.
Goa holds six Wildlife Sanctuaries which is a treat for a nature
We have been enjoying the beauty of goan forests for last
At the same time we could see how so called developmental
activities are destroying our natural heritage. We felt the need
to take steps to conserve what we are losing. So we founded
MITRA, a NGO, to serve the cause.
We started arranging treks for general public in wildlife
sanctuaries to make them aware of the natural wealth we
have. Some of our members took up wildlife rescues.
We also started awareness campaigns in high schools and
higher secondary schools.
We began photodocumenting the Wildlife. And now we have
taken another step by presenting this first issue of our
magazine. We hope that you will like it.
Do send us your feedback and suggestions.
- Team Mitra
Page 2: About Us
Page 3: A word from Mitra......
Page 5: In News
- Forensic Reports confirm’s Tiger’s remains
- Bhimgad declared as Wildlife Sanctuary
-By Mandar Gaude
Page 11: Bhagwaan Mahavir Wildlife
-By Rohan Naik
Page 15: Creature
Forensic Reports confirm’s Tiger’s remains
The investigations into Goa’s tiger killing case has got a boost with
forensic report confirming that the remains collected from a plantation
were of a striped cat. Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII)
has confirmed that the sample matches to that of a tiger. One out of
the seven samples matched which is enough to confirm. The tiger was
killed in Keri village in a cashew platation, in February last year.
Bhimgad declared as Wildlife Sanctuary
The two-decade-long struggle of environmentalists has finally succeeded
with the Ministry of Environment and Forests according wildlife sanctuary
status to Bhimgad forest area (13,167.10 hectares) recently. Due to this,
most of the Mhadei forests has now come under legal protection.
Forests of Mhadei are home for a vast number of different species.
Newly discovered species like the Mhadei Caecilian are found only in
this area. A couple of rare bats-Wroughton’s freetailed bat and
Theobald’s tomb bat-rare primates like slender Loris, lesser known
mammals like brown civet, have all been documented from this area
during the last few years.
Did You Know?
The IUCN Red List Threatened Species tells the global conservation status of
plant and animal species. Species are classified in nine groups, set through
criteria such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic
distribution, and degree of population and distribution fragmentation.
• Extinct (EX) - No individuals remaining.
• Extinct in the Wild (EW) - Known only to survive in captivity, or as a
naturalized population outside its historic range.
• Critically Endangered (CR) - Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
• Endangered (EN) - High risk of extinction in the wild.
• Vulnerable (VU) - High risk of endangerment in the wild.
• Near Threatened (NT) - Likely to become endangered in the near future.
• Least Concern (LC) - Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk
category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
• Data Deficient (DD) - Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of
• Not Evaluated (NE) - Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.
The term “threatened” is a grouping of three categories: Critically Endangered,
Endangered, and Vulnerable.
Cotigao - by Mandar Gaude
The 85.6 sq.mtr Cotigao wildlife We set out the same afternoon.
sanctuary is situated in south goa After two and half hours’ travel by
and has old and dense forests. It is a bus we reached our destination. I
delight for wildlife enthusiast. was steppping in this sanctuary after
Mandar tells his experiences of his about half a year. Last time it was
journey in this Jan.... fun learning about frogs and
I was down with flu for first seven
searching for Caecilians.
days of the New Year which had
Hunt for Frogmouth
ruined half of my semester vacation.
Night trails are always exciting and
For quite a few time, I was away from
thrilling. One reason is increased
wildlife and now that I had recovered
possibility of mammal sighting.
from the flu, I was feeling an intense
Another reason is many beautiful
urge to go for a trip to a wildlife
tiny spiders can be seen. Omkar had
sanctuary that morning, and then
once photographed about 35 species
Omkar invited me to accompany him
of spiders in within two hours. Birds
to Cotigao Wild Life Sanctuary. I
like Frogmouths and Nightjars are
ones which are active in night. Also
some mammals like flying squirrel, turtles had come out from nest
civet are more likely to be seen in already. They were around twenty
night. in number. We observed while
That night we went out to search for forest guards released them in the
the frogmouth. It is a Arabian Sea.
nocturnal bird(organisms active only Olive ridleys are critically
at the night) and its face looks like endangered species. They are the
that of a frog. We started hearing smallest of the marine turtle
Frogmouth calls. Calls became louder species in the world. They are
in time indicating they had come highly migratory, covering
close to us. But still we couldn’t spot thousands of kilometers between
one since they had excellently foraging and nesting grounds. They
managed to camouflage in the choose narrow beaches near
surrounding. We waited in hope that estuaries and bays to lay eggs.
the bird will show up. But we saw Each adult female lays
just a glimpse for few seconds when approximately 100-140 eggs at a
it flew from one branch to another time. It is believed that they nest
and that was the only success we in an interval of one-four years.
got. The nesting season is between
November to March. Morjim and
Visit to Olive Ridleys Galgibag beaches are two nesting
After dinner we went to Galgibag sites in Goa. For the conservation,
Beach to witness Olive Ridley turtles forest department guard the nests
hatching. We were little unlucky as against humans and stray dogs.
Newly born Olive Ridley Tutles waiting
to be released in sea at Galgibag.
Forest Department monitors nesting of
Olive Ridley Turtles and protects them
until they hatch. The eggs hatch in
The Eco-tourism Complex
The eco-tourism complex of cotigao Egg of Red
is well developed. It has spacious pierro
cottages for accommodation. It also
has a small amphitheatre, children’s
park, a cycling trail, a small
arboretum, rescue enclosures, nature
interpretation centre. It is also home Stage II:
for a large number of lesser known Caterpillar of Red
fauna. Draco, the gliding Lizard can Pierro
be seen while having a cup of tea.
Many butterflies keep hovering in
air. We saw almost complete life
cycle of red pierrot on a plant. One
can see a number of beautiful tiny Red Pierro
spiders in night. Spotted deers come
in night just outside the complex.
Signature spider Caterpillar of a Moth
(c) Mandar (c) Mandar
An Unexpected Encounter Something shined at road side. After
sometime we realized that it was a
We enjoyed another night trail other black panther, sitting at the roadside.
night. This time we went deeper in We all were awestruck. After looking
sanctuary with DCF Dr. Debendra at us for few seconds, it stood up
Dalai and DRO Vilas Gawas. We and walked slowly inside the deeper
headed towards Bela Lake. Bela Lake jungle. It was a superb sighting. We
is one of the fruitful sites for came out of the vehicle and tried to
mammal sighting in this Wildlife trace the panther, but it had
Sanctuary. Last year, my first vanished into the thick forest. A
encounter with a leopard in the wild black panther is nothing but an
was here. offspring of a normal leopard i.e. one
We were welcomed by a black naped with spots. There is just some
hare. Then we saw an adult female difference in pigmentation of skin
Sambhar, Small Indian Civet, Grey as there is in humans. It is a very
Nightjar, Jerdon’s Nightjar and a rare animal and we were lucky to
Bedome Cat snake. see one. Only bad news was no one
And then a rare mammal showed up. could get a picture of it. But the
We were moving slowly and quietly. night out had paid off.
Kuskem Waterfall Sunbeam, Cruiser, Blue Mormon and
many more can be seen easily. Also
Kuskem Waterfall is another attraction some rare species like Black Rajah,
of Cotigao. A forest guard took us Red-Spot Duke, Fluufy Tit, Paris
there on his bike. The main waterfall Peacock, Common Nawab can be
revives only in monsoons. We saw seen. Along with butterflies, one can
how it looks when it is dry. It was a also see beautiful birds. Some of the
large steep rock structure. We endemic birds like Malabar Trogon,
decided to visit another waterfall White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Malabar
inside forest. We were going along Pied Hornbill, Malabar Parakeet can
the river path. be found. The chilled water and dark
It is always a pleasant experience to green canopy keeps you fresh.
walk through the rivers in Western The waterfall was smaller than the
Ghats. It is one wonderful experience previous one. But it looked beautiful
provided by Mother Nature for which with milk white water flowing through
we should be very much grateful to it. There was a lot of butterfly
her. It is a treat for butterfly activity near waterfall. We saw Black
lovers. Many beautiful butterfly Rajah, Common Leopard, Commander,
species like Tamil yeoman, Angled Angled Sunbeam, Lesser gull, Cruiser
Kuskem Waterfall and Common Albatross.
Before returning home I thanked Mother Nature for giving those wonderful
experiences. I was returning with full satisfaction.
Bhagwaan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary
- by Rohan Naik
Bhagwaan Mahaveer Wildlife
Sanctuary and Mollem National Park
(Now clubbed together) is one of the
finest habitats for willdlife in Goa. It is
a part of the Western Ghats-one of the
top biodiversity hotspots in the world.
With its variety of habitats from dense
forest to open grasslands, rocky streams
etc, it houses a variety of wildlife.
From small insects-butterflies,
reptiles, birds to huge mammals,
different sorts of animals and also
plants are found here. Also one can
see variety of beautiful mushrooms
during rainy season. Stream ruby trio
(C) Rohan (C) Rohan
Beddome’s Frog Centamoud Moth
A lovely Flower Common Jezebel
Stream Ruby Damselfly
Caterpillar of a moth
Unidentified Insect - Its antannae
Angled Sunbeam are remarkably longer than its
Green Vine Snake
It stretches over a large area and includes
many different villages. Spots like the sunset
point, the Vasant Bandhara are a must visit. The
sunset point is at the peak of one of the (C) Rohan
highest hills of the sanctuary from where you
can get the view of the entire ghat section
and of course the sunset in the evening. It also
holds the famous Dudhsagar waterfall and the
Devils Canyon. The famous temple of Tambdi
Surla and the waterfall adjacent to it also fall
under the same sanctuary.
Stream Ruby male guarding the egg laying female
Tambdi Surla Temple
Tamil Lacewing Common Indian Toad
In all, if you are a wildlife enthusiast, nature lover or even interested in
the ancient culture or architecture, Mollem sanctuary is the place which will
never disappoint you.
Did You Know?
The Dragonfly (Bhirmoot) is one of the two living member of order Odonata. Other member is
Damselfly. Many people misunderstand damselfly as dragonfly. One can differ easily between two by
looking at its resting position. Dragonflies sit with wings held open, horizontally or downwards
whereas damselflies sit with wings held closed, usually over abdomen. Also damselflies are slender.
Common Banded Kukri Malabar Giant Squirrel
Oligodon arnensis Ratufa Indica
(C) Utkarsh Class:- Mammalia
varies from 254 to
457 mm and tail
length is almost the
same as body length.
They weigh aproximately
1.5 to 2 kg. Colour of
back or upper part varies
from deep red to brown
Class:- Reptilia and that of front part is
Type:- Non Venomous white. Distribution:-It is
Length:-Average: 35cm found in western ghats
At Birth: 8cm and endemic to the
Description:- They are reddish or same. They are found in all wildlife
greyish-brown with 10-12 black or sanctuaries of Goa.
dark brown bands. The top of the Habitat and habits:- It is arboreal and
head has a distinct arrowhead spends most of its time on trees. It
design. Underneath they are white in makes its shelter within holes in trees.
appearance. Their thickness is less. Moving from tree to tree, it can leap 6
Distribution:- Throughout India. meters or more. It rarely leaves the
Habitat:- Banded Kukris are mainly trees, usually only to chase other
cave, crevice and tree-hole dwellers. squirrels during the breeding season. It
Sometimes they are found in termite builds eagle-sized nests in the branches
mounds. of trees and raise the young there until
Habits:- This specie doesn’t bite they begin to emerge from the nest
often and its main defence is to and gain independence. It is typically
stiffen and jerk when provoked. They solitary. Active during day.
lay 3-6 eggs. Food:-Fruits, flowers, nuts, bark, bird
Food:- They feed on Geckos, skinks, eggs and insects. They disperse the
small mice and eggs of reptiles and seeds on ground and thus help in
birds. The tiny young ones feed on propagation of trees.
insects, their larvae and spiders. Status:- Near Threatened
Miscellaeous:-These snakes get their Miscellaneous:- It is state animal of
name from their sharp, curved teeth, Maharashtra. Called shekro in Goa.
perfect for holding strong prey such Poached for its meat and also because
as geckos. Normally not found in it sometimes damages arecanut crop
urban areas. for its food.
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