Vishwajit Rane wants safaris and wildlife camping in Goa in his 10-year plan.

State forest department has developed a variety of approaches to protect wildlife sanctuaries and ecosystem . The department has identified priority areas for eco-tourism in Cotigao, Galgibaga, Netravali, Molcornem, Surla, and Chorla .

PANAJI: The state forest department has embarked on a 10-year plan to convert Goas forests into a safari spot in the internationally-recognised Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot.The forest department has developed a variety of approaches to protect the state's plentiful wildlife sanctuaries and ecosystem, from luxurious tents and wildlife excursions to deep sea expeditions and turtle nesting tours.I want to develop safaris, said forest minister Vishwajit Rane.For this purpose, you can't put animals in a cage.

It has to begin right now, and it could see some results in the next ten years.Rane said that after chairing a meeting with the department, he has identified priority areas for eco-tourism in Cotigao, Galgibaga, Netravali, Molcornem, Surla, and Chorla.Although the state has three wildlife sanctuaries, the majority of them are inaccessible and out of reach for wildlife lovers.Morjim and Mandrem in Pernem are among the state's top turtle conservation and nesting areas, as well as Agonda and Galgibaga in Canacona.

A 120-kilometer walking trail is also being considered between the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary, the Netravali forest sanctuary, Bhagwan Mahavir wildlife sanctuary, and the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary up to Chorla ghat.Rane, who is an avid photographer, said that the area of Surla and Nanoda is also being looked at for recreational vehicles or campervans, as well as luxury tent camping facilities.Vinay Luthra, the state's chief forest conservator, has been selected as an advisor by the state government.To map the route, Rane met with Luthra, Goa's principal chief forest conservator Rajiv Kumar Gupta, and Santosh Kumar, an additional principal chief forest conservator and chief wildlife warden.

We will also come up with a forest regeneration and forest management scheme in Goa, said Rane.Although the wildlife safaris are at least ten years away, the department intends to begin camping sites, kayaking, cycling paths, and hiking trails in the near future, starting with Cotigao.These plans coincide with the state governments' push toward hinterland tourism.The department can start constructing two camping sites at the Bhagwan Mahavir wildlife sanctuary and in Cotigao with Rs 2-3 crore, while a similar camping site at Nanoda will be constructed via the PPP route, according to the minister.

The forest department also aims to improve the Bondla zoo and provide natural habitats for wild animals and bird watching areas, among other things.There is no statute that stipulates that people are forbidden to enter forests.We want to make it more user-friendly.We need to take a proactive approach to ensure that Goans do not have to go too far.