Nilgiri tahr population over 3,000: WWF-India

Udhagamandalam,02/10/2015: (File Photo)A herd of Niligir Thar at Mukuruthi National park in NIligiris. Photo:M.Sathyamoorthy   | Photo Credit: M_Sathyamoorthy -

Perhaps, in the first-ever comprehensive study of the Nilgiri tahr population in Western Ghats, the WWF-India has put the population at 3,122 and added that with diligent conservation and planning, the population could reach the 5,000 mark.

The study was conducted in the habitat spread over 5,790 sq km in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. With this being perhaps the first-ever comprehensive species specific-study in the recent decades, there is no means to compare the data with that of the past.

WWF-India on Friday released the report titled, “ Status and distribution of the Nilgiris tahr in the Western Ghats, India. ” It is a culmination of pocket-specific surveys by WWF-India and collaborative studies by WWF and the Forest Departments of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The surveys have discovered 17 unrecorded pockets of tahr habitat inhabited by 131 animals. These potential areas had not been located in the past owing to their rugged terrain that remains inaccessible for over half the year owing to heavy rain, mist and fog.

The key findings of the survey will enable greater understanding of the status and distribution of the tahr across its range, WWF-India added. Of all mountain ungulate species in India, the Nilgiri tahr is the only one that exists in Southern India and is endemic to the Western Ghats of Kerala and Tamil Nadu but is believed to have existed across the entire extent of the Western Ghats.

The study identified sizeable conservation units among its range as well as key threats to tahr populations. While detailing measures to minimise these in the identified units, it recommends periodic monitoring for conservation.

The threats identified by the study included incidents of forest fire destroying fodder, spread of diseases through unregulated cattle crazing in areas close to the habitat, unsustainable non-timber forest produce collection, poaching and unabated human intervention in the habitat in the name of pilgrimage to sacred places.

Ravi Singh, secretary general and CEO of WWF – India, said that the comprehensive report not only provides an insight into the current status of Nilgiri tahr in the Western Ghats but also charts out a road map for securing the future of the species. The report will help in preparing a conservation action plan.

M.S.M. Anandan, Minister for Forests, said that Nilgiri tahr is the State animal and symbolises both rich diversity and conservation challenges in the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. The report will be a way forward for park managers and the conservation community including proposals for regular monitoring, protection, connectivity, habitat management and possibly re-introduction into other suitable areas.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 3:44:59 AM |

Next Story