Your leisure trip to Goa will soon have an added advantage — tracking wild tigers.
Over 35 tigers have been found residing in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in north Goa, about 60 to 90 kms from hot tourism hot spot beaches such as Anjum, Bombolin and Colva.
Goa was not a traditional home for tigers but in the last few years, tigers from neighbouring Bimgad and Anshi Dandeli tiger reserves in Karnataka had visited forests areas in Sattari Taluk of north Goa because of biotic pressures.
"There is evidence to show that tigers in Goa are not merely transient animals and but are resident population as," Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh said.
Mhadei sanctuary is a contiguous tiger landscape with tiger areas in Karnataka.
In the recent few years, tiger numbers have increased in the landscape in Western Ghats pushing the tigers to look for new habitats.
"Tigers can travel long distances to find their home base and it has also happened in case of Goa," said an official of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
The Dehraduun-based Wildlife Institute of India has spotted 35 tigers in Mhadei, situated in Sattauri Taluk of north Goa and said the sanctuary has a good habitat for maintaining a stable tiger population.
Ramesh, in a letter to Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat said there was considerable support for the creation of a tiger reserve and wildlife conservation. "By declaring Mhadei wildlife sanctuary as a tiger reserve, we could also ensure the long-term protection of bio-diversity rich areas," he said.
The state government has been asked to submit a proposal to declare the wildlife sanctuary, which has been so far out of bounds for tourists, as a tiger reserve.