Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary (including Molem)

Country/territory: India

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 14,852 ha

Bombay Natural History Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2003 low not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Sanguem taluka on the eastern border of Goa, along the Western Ghats. It was earlier called the Mollem Game Sanctuary but was renamed in 1976 after the great saint Bhagwan Mahavir. The core area, consisting of 107 sq. km, was declared as Mollem National Park vide notification dated April 13 1978. National highway 4A and Mormugao-Londa railway line run through the Sanctuary. Collem Railway Station lies within the sanctuary area. Many small rivulets flow through the Sanctuary in the monsoon, but dry up in summer. Besides flora and fauna, there are many important geological and historical features in the Sanctuary. Dudhsagar Falls, about an hour’s journey from Collem Railway Station by train, is a popular tourist spot. The Devil Canyon is a splendid piece of geological rock formation. The famous Tambdi Surla Temple is about 13 kms from Mollem. Due to luxuriant tree growth, the canopy is almost closed and the availability of grass is very limited. Evergreen vegetation is mainly seen on higher altitudes and along the riverbanks. The main vegetation types are West Coast Tropical Evergreen Forest, West Coast Semi-Evergreen Forest and Moist Deciduous Forest.

Key biodiversity

AVIFAUNA: Nearly 200 species of birds have been reported from this Sanctuary, including Western Ghats endemics. The Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus is found all over the Sanctuary. The Indian Black Woodpecker or White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis can be seen in most parts of the Sanctuary. It was seen nesting in Dudhsagar area (Harvey D’Souza pers. comm. 2002). According to Harvey D’Souza (pers. comm. 2003) the Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon Columba ephinstonii, Blue-winged Parakeet or Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columboides, Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griesus, Grey-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus priocephalus and Small Sunbird Nectarinia minima are present in this IBA. The White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra is reported from Dudhsagar area, a popular tourist and birdwatching destination. These birds are listed as Restricted Range by Stattersfield et al. (1998) under the Western Ghats (Endemic Bird Area 123). Within its 14,852 ha, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary has excellent Wet Evergreen, Semi-evergreen and Moist Deciduous forests. Based on BirdLife International’s (undated) classification of biomes, this site would lie in Biome-10 (Indian Peninsula Tropical Moist Forest) in which 15 bird species have been identified that represent this Biome’s bird assemblages. Six of them have been located so far, perhaps more await discovery. Heinz Lainer (pers. comm. 2003) has seen Lesser Adjutant-Stork Leptoptilos javanicus. This site qualifies three IBA criteria: A1 (Threatened species), A2 (Restricted Range species) and A3 (Biome Restricted species).

OTHER KEY FAUNA: The Leopard Panthera pardus forms the apex trophic level in the Sanctuary. Large herbivores include Gaur Bos frontalis, Sambar Cervus unicolor, and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak.

Mouse Deer Moschiola meminna is also found here. Other important mammals of the site are Pangolin Manis crassicaudata, Slender Loris Loris tardigradus, Porcupine Hystrix indica, Small Indian Civet Viverricula indica and Flying Squirrel Petaurista petaurista.

Key contributors: Harvey D’Souza and Heinz Lainer.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary (including Molem). Downloaded from on 25/06/2022.