Kerala

Munnar hopeful of more Nilgiri tahr calves

The number of Nilgiri tahr calves in each calving season ranges between 65 and 76. Nilgiri tahr calves at Rajamala inside the Eravikulam National Park.

The number of Nilgiri tahr calves in each calving season ranges between 65 and 76. Nilgiri tahr calves at Rajamala inside the Eravikulam National Park.  

Lockdown has provided undisturbed environs in the animal’s habitats in Munnar

The calving season of the Nilgiri tahr is coming to a close, and Forest Department officials are expecting an increased number of calves owing to the peaceful and undisturbed environs in its habitats, spread across Munnar, in the wake of the lockdown.

An official at the Eravikulam National Park (ENP) told The Hindu that the final count of the newborns would be available after the census in May. The calving season of the Nilgiri tahr is from mid-January to April.

Though Rajamala is considered the natural habitat of the Nilgiri tahr, the animal is found in areas including Devikulam, Adimaly, Kadavary, Kambakallu, Mankulam, and Meesapulimala.

The census has been extended to these places too. Though the population stood almost stable, the number of newborns in each calving season ranges between 65 and 76. The main predators of the Nilgiri tahr in the Munnar region of the Western Ghats are wild dogs and leopards. The calves could also fall prey to eagles in the early stages.

No traffic

With the COVID-19-induced lockdown, there is no movement of vehicles or people inside the animal’s habitats, said the official. Usually, during the calving season, the ENP is closed, but a limited number of vehicles are allowed to ply to the Edamalakkudy tribal grama panchayat.

A few residents of the panchayat too take the road. This year, with the lockdown clamped, the movement of vehicles and pedestrians is nil.

Though the northeast monsoon is also a mating season and newborns are noted on occasions other than the main calving season, their numbers are limited, said the official.

Changes in monsoon could impact the calving season, depending on which the Forest Department extends the ban on the ENP entry.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 2:33:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/munnar-hopeful-of-more-nilgiri-tahr-calves/article31360104.ece

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