P. Oppili

Substantial numbers of endangered species recorded in wildlife census

CHENNAI: Forest officials are thrilled at the sighting of Nilgiri Tahr and Lion-Tailed Macaque (LTM) in good measure in Theni district.

Srinivas R. Reddy, District Forest Officer, Theni, said during a recently concluded wildlife census, participants recorded the presence of 250 macaques and 95 Nilgiri Tahr in the Meghamalai Forest Range. There is no recent record of presence of both these critically endangered animals in Theni forest areas, Mr. Reddy said.

While the Tahr population was sighted in Varshanadu, Chinnamanoor, Bodi and Gudalur ranges, the macaques were sighted in the Meghamalai range, he said.

As far as LTMs were concerned, a good number of young ones were recorded by those who participated in the census.

"Healthy trend"

Mr. Reddy said: "Sighting of young ones in the Theni forest shows a fairly healthy trend. On our part, we will take adequate measures to provide them better protection."

Local forest officials said reduction of cattle grazing inside forest areas lead to a proportionate increase in the availability of grass and water. This aided herbivorous animals such as the Nilgiri Tahr to thrive, they said.

Officials are planning to take up a study on the macaque population in Theni district after clearance from higher authorities.

Apart from these two species, a total of 51 animals and mammals species were found in the area, including tiger, panther, elephants, mouse deer and Gaur.

The officials added that good species diversity was recorded in the Theni Forest division during the course of the census.

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