A recent census has revealed that the number of Nilgiri tahr in the Mukurthi National Park, Tamilnadu, has increased from 480 to 568 within two years. This is great news for conservationists and all animal lovers. The Forest Department officials were happy with the increase in the number of these tahrs in their only pristine habitat left in the Nilgiris. The tahr is an endangered species of mountain goat.
The Nilgiri tahr also known as the Nilgiri Ibex is an ungulate endemic to the Nilgiri hills and the southern part of the Western Ghats in Tamilnadu and Kerala. The Himalayan Tahr and the Arab Tahr are also well known but the Nilgiri tahr is different. The tahr’s closest relative is the sheep.
The tahr is a stocky goat with coarse hair and a bristly mane. The Eravikulam National Park, Kerala, is home to the largest number of Nilgiri tahrs, close to a thousand.
Along with the good news from the Nilgiris with regard to the tahr also comes the news that grazing grounds are being usurped by wild vegetation like the wattle and weeds like scotch broom. How will this affect the tahrs is the main concern.