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Madei Wildlife Sanctuary
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Madei Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Sattari in North Goa district. Spread over 208 sq km the sanctuary is a link between Bhagavan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and the reserve forests of Sawantwadi in Maharashtra. Notified in 1999 and named after the Mandovi or Madei river, the sanctuary receives an annual rainfall of 3,000 mm (D'Souza 2004).

Vegetation in the sanctuary is a mix of moist deciduous, semi-evergreen and secondary scrub forest (D'Souza 2004). A few tigers (Panthera tigris) have been spotted in the sanctuary. However, this protected area is more famous for its large reptile, insect and bat population. Nearly 45 species of snakes, including eight species of vipers like the green pit viper (Trimeresurus gramineus) and hump-nosed pit viper (Hypnale hypnale) are found here. Many rare species of bats like the Wroughton's freetailed bat (Otomops wroughtonii), Theobald's tomb bat (Taphozous theobaldi) and lesser false vampire (Megaderma spasma) (Bates and Harrison 1997) too have been seen here.

Recognised as an Important Bird Area, the forests of Madei are home to nearly seven endemic species of birds (Stattersfield et al. 1998) that include species like the Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii), blue-winged parakeet (Psittacula columboides), Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus), grey-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus priocephalus), Indian rufous babbler (Tardoides subrufus), white-bellied blueflycatcher (Cyornis pallipes) and small sunbird (Nectarinia minima). Others like small green-billed malkhoa (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris), Malabar trogon (Harpactes fasciatus), Malabar pied hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus) and black throated munia (Lonchura kelaarti), all of which are Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) species, are also resident in this protected area (D'Souza 2004). The ruby-throated yellow bulbul (Pycnonotus melanictterus), which is the state bird of Goa, is also seen here.

The insect biodiversity is rather high with hundreds of endemic species having been recorded. Butterflies like the Southern birdwing (Troides minos), India's largest butterfly species, Malabar tree nymph (Idea malabarica), grass jewel (Zizeeria trochilus) and Atlas moth (Altacus atlas) can be found (D'Souza 2004).

Serious disturbances to this protected area have been caused due to practice of shifting cultivation (kumeri) and plantation of exotic species like eucalyptus and acacia. The setting up of the Mhadei Hydroelectric Project along with three main dams and seven diversion dams have seriously disturbed the delicate ecological balance of this sanctuary (D'Souza 2004).

Of the 40 open-cast mining leases allotted, 11 mines are still operational within the sanctuary. In 2003, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) appointed by the Supreme Court ordered the shut down of mining operations in Netravathi and Madhei Wildlife Sanctuaries in Goa. That led to closure of two iron-ore mines in Mhadei (PA Update 2004).

Since 2001 the Goa state government has been planning to denotify an area of 170 sq km from Netravali and Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuaries, which together have nearly 16,000 people living in 47 villages. In 2001, the Karapurkar Committee set up by the Goa state government had recommended that 81.79 sq km of the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary be denotified (PA Update 2001, PA Update 2002 and PA Update 2004).


Bates, J. J and Harrison, D.L. 1997. Bats of the Indian subcontinent. Harrison Zoological Museum, England. pp 258.

D'Souza, H. 2004. Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and River Basin Forest Area. In: Important Bird Areas in India: Priority sites for conservation. (Islam, M. Z and Rahmani, A. R).Indian Bird Conservation Network: Bombay Natural History Society and Birdlife International, UK. pp 370-371.

Menon, V. 2003. A field guide to Indian mammals. DK (India) Pvt Ltd and Penguin Book India (P) Ltd. 201 pp.

PA Update. 2001. Populated areas to be excluded from Netrawali and Madei. June (30&31).

PA Update. 2001. State to seek SC approval to denotify Netravali, Madei. October (33).

PA Update. 2002. State pursuing denotification of Madei WLS. October (39).

PA Update. 2004. CEC orders stopping of mining in PAs. April (47&48):4.

PA Update. 2004. CM calls meeting to discuss denotification of Madei and Netravali WLSs. June (49): 8.

Stattersfield, A.J., Crosby, M.L., Long, A.J and Wege, D.C. 1998. Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priority Areas for Biodiversity Conservation. BirdLife International Series No 7. BirdLife International, UK.

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