COIMBATORE: Population of Nilgiri tahr is perceived to remain stable in the Anaimalai Hills in Coimbatore district.
“It looks like the population of Nilgiri tahr, at least in Anaimalai hills, has become quite stable. An average of 510 individuals in 35 groups were found in the hills in the last survey done along with the Forest Department in 2018. There may not be any major difference in the population estimate when compared to the previous survey done way back in 1996,” said TR Sankar Raman, senior scientist, Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF).
Tahr population in Anamalai Hills is likely to be one fourth or one fifth of its total population in the whole of Western Ghats.
“Given the global population estimate for Western Ghats, nearly 20 to 25 per cent of Nilgiri tahr may be in Anaimalai Hills alone. It remains a most suitable habitat due to its high altitude with cliff and grassland. Its landscape is also well protected, unlike the Nilgiris and Palani, where several invasive species of plants have taken over vast areas of grasslands,” he added.
However, in order to minimise further disturbances, road expansion works should be avoided in forest areas of the pristine hills. “Even the existing ghat road in Valparai intersects through forest areas in some areas, where tahr usually moves around. Such disturbances should be avoided to facilitate their increase and a re-survey should be done to identify the current scenario of their population,” said Raman.