State gives foothold to Nilgiri Tahr
CHENNAI: Spotting the Nilgiri tahr is a matter of luck — not only is the large mountain goat extremely shy, but urbanization and habitat fragmentation have also diminished its numbers. The Tamil Nadu government is now working on a comprehensive action plan to protect the endangered tahr, which is the state animal. The project, part of the Union ministry of environment and forests’ Species Recovery Programme, is still in the conceptual stage.
The state government will study the plan and submit a report to the Centre for fund allocation. Two rounds of discussions with conservationists have taken place and "we are awaiting their final report", said chief wildlife warden R Sundarraju. The Asia Biodiversity Conservation Trust from Thrissur will prepare the conservation plan, while city-based Care Earth is an associate organization for the project. Protection of habitat and movement corridors will be part of the plan.
Tahr numbers are down to about 2,000 in TN, though no comprehensive study has been conducted simultaneously across all national parks, say experts. The Nilgiri tahr, listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List and Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, is found only in the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Its habitat covers an area of 400 km, spread across Eravikulam National Park, Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Mukurthi National Park, Periyar National Park and the Palani hills.