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Nilrigi Tahr

The Nilgiri Tahr, is an endangered mountain goat, found primarily in the Western Ghats including the Nilgiri Hills of South India. Also known as the Nilgiri Ibex, this endangered animal is severely under threat, though conservation efforts have resulted in its numbers increasing in the later half of the 20th century.

Zoological name: Hemitragus hylocrius

Range: The Nilgiri Thar is found in southern parts of the Western Ghats - a chain of hill ranges along the Arabian Sea coast of South India. Nilgiri Tahrs are found in the Nilgiri Hills, the Anamalai Hills and the hill ranges of central Kerala. The largest population of Thars is to be seen in the Erivakulam National Park in Kerala.

The Nilgiri Tahr prefers open terrain, cliffs and grass-covered hills, a habitat largely confined to altitudes from 1200 to 2600 m. Their habitat extended far and wide all along these hills in the past, but hunting and habitat destruction have decimated them to such an extent that they now exist only in a few isolated sites - the Nilgiri hills, the high ranges in Central Kerala and the Anamalai hills about 100 Kms to the South and some pockets in the Southern tip of the peninsula.

Estimated population: It is estimated that there are around 2000 Nilgiri Tahrs in the Western Ghats, with around 450 in the Nilgiri Hills and 760 in the Erivakulam National Park in Kerala. Physical characteristics: The Nilgiri Tahr is a study mountain goat with a predominantly brown coat, with a dark brown band running down the center of the back and a lighter white colored chest, belly and throat. Both males and females have horns that curve backwards. The horns are about 40 cm long in males and 30 cm in female Nilgiri Tahrs. Adult male Nilgiri Tahrs can reach 1 m in height and weigh 80-100 Kg.

Habitat: Nilgiri Tahrs live on the slopes of the Western Ghats. The plateau area of Erivakulam National Park in Kerala, which includes Anamudi, the tallest peak in South India is the home range of the Nilgiri Tahr. Being a mountain goat, the Nilgiri Tahr easily climbs the inaccessible heights of these hills and is usually found in altitudes above 2000 m. Diet: Nilgiri Tahrs are herbivores. They feed on the grasses and leaves of the hill ranges, and are also seen in the Shola or Southern Tropical Wet Temperate forests, where vegetation occurs in abundance.

Behavior: Nilgiri Tahrs are usually seen in small herds. They are seen grazing during the day and rest during the night. Male Tahrs are known to fight during the mating season or over territory.

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