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Project Nilgiri Tahr

Project Nilgiri Tahr:

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister recently launched ‘The Nilgiri Tahr’ project for the conservation of Tamil Nadu’s state animal.

  • Nilgiri Tahr is an endangered mountain ungulate endemic to the southern part of the Western Ghats.
  • Scientific Name: Nilgiritragus hylocrius
  • Locally, the animal is called ‘Varayaadu’.
  • They are known for their gravity-defying skills in climbing steep cliffs, earning them the nickname Mountain Monarch.
  • It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu.
  • Their present distribution is limited to approximately 5% of the Western Ghats in southern India (Kerala and Tamil Nadu).
  • Eravikulam National Park in Kerala has the highest density and largest surviving population of Nilgiri tahr.
  • They inhabit the open montane grassland habitats at elevations from 1200 to 2600 m of the South Western Ghats.
  • Features:
    • It has a stocky body with short, coarse fur and a bristly mane.
    • Males are larger than females and of a darker color when mature.
    • Both sexes have curved horns, which are larger in the males, reaching up to 40 cm in males and 30 cm in females.
    • Adult males develop a light grey area or ’saddle’ on their backs and are hence called ‘saddlebacks’.
  • It has a short grey-brown or dark coat.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Endangered
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972: Schedule I