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.
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.
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.
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.
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.