Nilgiri tahr

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Tamil Nādu undertakes project to conserve Nilgiri tahr.

Nilgiri Tahr Conservation Project
  • It is India’s first project to conserve the State animal of Tamil Nadu.
  • The project is to be implemented from 2022 to 2027.
Under The Nilgiri Tahr project, TN government plans to develop a better understanding of the Nilgiri Tahr population through-
  • Surveys and radio telemetry studies;
  • Reintroduce the Tahrs to their historical habitat;
  • Address proximate threats; and Increase public awareness of the species.
Nilgiri Tahr
  • The Nilgiri tahr also known as Nilgiri Ibex is the only mountain ungulate in southern India amongst the 12 species present in India.
  • It was formerly called Hemitragus hylocrius.
  • Its generic name was changed to Nilgiritragus after the phylogenic research by Ropiquet and Hassanin in 2005.
  • It is one of the few species of mountain Caprinae, and the only Tahr
  • It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu
  • It inhabits the open montane grassland habitats at elevations from 1200 to 2600 m of the South Western Ghats.
    Currently, the Nilgiri tahr distribution is along a narrow stretch of 400 km in the Western Ghats between Nilgiris in the north and Kanyakumari hills in the south of the region.
  • The Eravikulam National Park in Anamalai hills, Kerala, is home to the largest population of the Nilgiri tahr, with more than 700 individuals.
  • Habitat loss due to rampant deforestation, competition with domestic livestock, hydroelectric projects in Nilgiri tahr habitat, and monoculture plantations
  • Occasional hunting for its meat and skin
  • Populations of these animals are small and isolated, making them vulnerable to local extinction,
  • Climate Change
  • This endemic species of the Western Ghats is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  • Protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972

Historic significance

  • There are multiple references to the Nilgiri Tahr in Tamil Sangam literature dating back to 2,000 years.
  • The late Mesolithic (10,000-4,000 BC) paintings highlight the significance of the Tahr in folklore, culture and life.
  • It was designated as the State animal in recognition of its ecological and cultural significance.

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