T.N. government sets up Nilgiri Tahr conservation project

Source: The post is based on the article “T.N. government sets up Nilgiri Tahr conservation project” published in The Hindu on 3rd January 2023

What is the News?

The Tamil Nadu government has launched the Nilgiri Tahr conservation project.

What is the Nilgiri Tahr conservation project?

Launched by: Tamil Nadu

Aim: To develop a better understanding of the Nilgiri Tahr population through 1) Surveys and radio telemetry studies, 2) Reintroduce the Tahrs to their historical habitat, 3) Address proximate threats and 4) Increase public awareness of the species.

Duration: The project is to be implemented from 2022 to 2027.

Funding: ​​The funds for the project are to be provided by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

– Note: October 7 will be celebrated as ‘Niligiri Tahr Day’ in honour of E.R.C. Davidar, who was responsible for pioneering one of the first studies of the species in 1975.

What is Nilgiri Tahr?

Nilgiri Tahr is the sole Caprinae species found in the tropical mountains of southern India. 

IUCN Status: Endangered

Wildlife (Protection) Act of India,1972: Schedule I

Habitat: The animal inhabits meadows with steep cliffs at elevations between 300 metres and 2,600 metre above sea level. 

Population: It is estimated that there are 3,122 Nilgiri Tahrs in the wild. 

Geographical range: Historically, the Nilgiri Tahr was known to inhabit a large portion of the Western Ghats. But today it remains restricted to a few scattered patches in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. 

– It has become locally extinct in around 14% of its traditional shola forest-grassland habitat.

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 has been designated as the State animal of Tamil Nadu in recognition of its ecological and cultural significance.

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