Four decades after winning wildlife sanctuary status, Goa’s two of richest biodiversity hotspots are proceeding to become Critical Wildlife Habitat (CWH).

The State Forest Department will soon initiate process to declare Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary as the CWHs under Tribal Welfare Act.

“The CWHs will be declared under Tribal Welfare Act, 2006, which will give adequate protection to the forest dwellers,” Deputy Conservator of Forest, Debendra Dalai, told PTI on Tuesday.

The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, spread across 86.25 square kilometers area, is located in Canacona taluk bordering with Karnataka. Similarly, Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary covers 240 square kilometers area in Sanguem taluk and is the biggest of all the sanctuaries.

Both these wildlife hotspots were notified as wildlife sanctuaries as back as 1969, within a decade of Goa’s liberation from Portuguese rule.

The Forest Department has already initiated process to declare two of the smaller sanctuaries — Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Chorao and Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary - as CWH.

While there was resistance for the Forest Department at Chorao, the process at Bondla went on hassle-free, Mr. Dalai said.