Exploring the Untouched Beauty: Discover the Western Ghats’ Biodiversity in Goa
When one thinks of Goa, the first images that come to mind are its sun-kissed beaches, vibrant nightlife, and Portuguese architecture. However, there’s another side to this popular tourist destination that remains largely unexplored – the Western Ghats. This mountain range, which runs parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity in the world. Around 20% of Goa’s land falls within this region, making it a treasure trove of unique flora and fauna.
The Western Ghats: A Brief Overview
The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Mountains, stretch over 1600 km from the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra to the southernmost tip of India. They are home to more than 7,402 species of flowering plants, 1,814 species of non-flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species, 179 amphibian species, 6,000 insects species and 290 freshwater fish species. Many of these are endemic, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world.
Exploring the Biodiversity of the Western Ghats in Goa
Goa’s portion of the Western Ghats is rich in biodiversity. Here are some of the unique species you can find in this region:
- King Cobra: This is the world’s longest venomous snake, and the Western Ghats is one of its last strongholds.
- Malabar Giant Squirrel: This large tree squirrel is known for its vibrant fur, which can be a mix of red, brown, black, and white.
- Nilgiri Tahr: This is a stocky goat with a bristly mane, found only in the Nilgiri Hills and parts of the Western Ghats.
Despite its rich biodiversity, the Western Ghats face numerous threats, including deforestation, climate change, and poaching. However, several conservation efforts are underway to protect this unique ecosystem. The Goa Forest Department, for instance, has implemented various initiatives to conserve the region’s biodiversity. These include the establishment of protected areas, promotion of eco-tourism, and implementation of strict anti-poaching measures.
The Western Ghats in Goa offer a unique opportunity to explore a side of Goa that goes beyond its beaches and nightlife. By visiting this region, you not only get to witness its rich biodiversity but also contribute to its conservation. So, the next time you plan a trip to Goa, make sure to include the Western Ghats in your itinerary.