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Location India, Goa
Central coordinates 74o 1.45' East  15o 19.53' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 14,852 ha
Altitude 0
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Nilgiri Woodpigeon Columba elphinstonii resident  2004  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Malabar Parakeet Psittacula columboides resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Malabar Grey Hornbill Ocyceros griseus resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Treepie Dendrocitta leucogastra resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Grey-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus priocephalus resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Brachypteryx major resident  2004  present  A1, A2, A3  Not Recognised 
Crimson-backed Sunbird Nectarinia minima resident  2004  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2003 low not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
No known threats no known threats happening now whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary 14,852 is identical to site 14,852  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Harvey D’Souza and Heinz Lainer.


BirdLife International (undated) Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Asia: Project briefing book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K., unpublished.

Stattersfield, A. J., Crosby, M. J., Long, A. J. and Wege, D. C. (1998) Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 7. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary (including Molem). Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife