The sightings of Nilgiri Tahr in the Mukurthi National Park have risen from 568 in 2018 to 612 this year, showing an impressive 8% increase.
- This was the second consecutive year that an increase in the population of the animal had been recorded in the park, meaning the population of the Nilgiri tahr, also known as the Nilgiri ibex, has risen by 132 since 2016. (the first rise in 2018)
Habitat and distribution
- Scientific Name - Nilgiritragus hypocrisy.
- Locally as the Nilgiri ibex or simply
- Only species of Caprine ungulate (a hoofed typically herbivorous quadruped mammal). that is found south of the Himalayas in India.
- State animal of Tamil Nadu.
- Despite its local name, it is more closely related to the sheep of the genus Ovis than the ibex and wild goats of the genus Capra.
- IUCN status - Endangered
- Inhabits the open montane grassland habitat of the South Western Ghats montane rain forests eco-region.
- At elevations from 1,200 to 2,600 meters (3,900 to 8,500 ft), the forests open into grasslands interspersed with pockets of stunted forests called
- Eravikulam National Park is home to the largest population of this Tahr.
- Endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Southern India (ex: Anamalai Hills, Palni Hills)
- Currently, the only populations with more than 300 individuals are in Eravikulam National Park and in the Grass Hills in Anamalai.
- Habitat loss –
- Due to plantations, including monoculture of tea, eucalyptus, wattle, and pine.
- Construction of numerous hydroelectric projects and
- Timber felling
- Populations of these animals are small and isolated, making them vulnerable to local extinction.
- Competition from domestic livestock - whose overgrazing has allowed for the invasion of graze-resistant weedy species into preferred meadows.
- Climate Change - The current habitats of Nilgiri tahr are projected to become unsuitable as global surface temperatures rise.
About Mukurthi National Park (MNP)
- It is protected species under Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
- A landscape-based conservation program to extend the conservation of Nilgiri tahr outside the Eravikulam National Park is being formulated in the State for the long-term survival of the species.
- WWF-India has conducted a comprehensive study in Tamil Nadu and Kerala to understand the present population and ecological requirements of Nilgiri tahr. It has also raised awareness among locals and NGOs to initiate steps towards conservation.
- The Tamil Nadu Forest Department is removing exotic monocultures along the periphery of the Mukurti National Park.
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· Protected area located in the Ootacamund hill station in Tamil Nadu state in the Western Ghats mountain range of South India. · Characterized by montane grasslands and shrublands interspersed with sholas in a high-altitude area of high rainfall, near-freezing temperatures, and high winds. · Home to an array of endangered wildlife, including the Royal Bengal tiger and Asian elephant, but its main mammal attraction is the Nilgiri tahr. · The park was previously known as Nilgiri Tahr National Park. · It is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India's first International Biosphere Reserve. · As part of the Western Ghats, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1 July 2012. · Native hill tribe communities - the Toda tribe.