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India Counting The Endangered Nilgiri


India Counting The Endangered Nilgiri

CHENNAI, (IANS) – The first synchronized census of the endangered Nilgiri tahr will commence on April 29 and around 700 personnel, including volunteers and officials, will participate in the exercise that will take three days.

The Kerala Forest Department will also be part of the survey. The Nilgiri tahr habitat is spread across 13 forest divisions, 100 beats and 140 blocks. The terrain in some of the areas is highly challenging.

The volunteers are chosen based on physical fitness and past trekking experience, besides having a wildlife conservation background.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature – India, which has been studying the Nilgiri tahr for several years, the Wildlife Institute of India and the Advanced Institute of Wildlife Sciences (AIWC) will be part of the synchronized survey.

WWF-India in association with the Tamil Nadu Forest department in a study found that the Nilgiris tahr has become locally extinct from around 14 per cent of its shola-grassland habitat within the past few decades.

It may be recalled that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had launched Project Nilgiri tahr nine months ago.

An officer with the Project Nilgiri tahr said, “The project team was able to identify and catalogue nine major plant species and three grass varieties that the Nilgiri tahr predominantly feed on.”

The official said that the identification and cataloguing were very important for habitat assessment as the main goal is reintroducing this endangered species in their original habitat.”

The Nilgiris Thar has become locally extinct, especially in the Glenmorgan mountains in the Nilgiris.

The Tamil Nadu Forest department had successfully radio-collared a Nilgiri tahr a month ago in Mukurthi National Park. The department said that the radio collaring has already given several valuable insights about the animal.

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