Present Population Distribution .

 

The Nilgiri Tahr population in the 6 Tahr landscapes( Latest review,Daniels et al 2006)

Nilgiris Hills Landscape

Mukurthi 45, Western Catchement 42, Nadgani 201, Bangitapal 334, Silent Valley Ankinda Malai 30, Siruvani hills (Kunjara malai)  20-60

Anaiamalai Hills Landscape

Nelliampathi Hills (Cruz Malai, Chinna Attu Malai, Kumul Malai) 25-30, Toslip-parambikulam (Pandaravarai, Kolumbu Malai, Peerunkundru, Palagkundru) 120, Vengoli Malai, Karumalai Gopuram , Anaimalai Hills Eastern Slopes

Aliyar, Chetta Guttu, Attakatti, Thadaganachi Malai, Navamalai 125, Kallar Malai 54, Chadayandu Malai 16, Tanaka Malai 27, Tanaka Malai (western slope)  6, Usi Malai 30, Amaravathi slopes, Erumai Malai 45, Elumalaiyan Koil 80-90,

The High Ranges Landscape

Eravikulum Rajamalai 700, Tertian’s Plateau 11, Karukulam 17, Perivurrai-kannimally 4,

The Palani-High Wavy Mountain Landscape

Marian Shola Varai 4, Karian Varai 3, Koravan Thotti 16, Kaluguthorai, Vannathi Odai, Sooriankanal 22, Swamimalai Karadu 20, Attu Mottai 9, Padicattu Metla 20, Mudal Metla 27, Plot no28 - 9.

The Seivilliputtur Periyar Hills Landscape

Mudaliar Oothu 51, Funnel Vale, Vellakaltheri 15.

Tirunalveli Travancore Hills Landscape

Panchamthangi Malai 6, Pechiparai 14, Kalamal 47, Tiruvanamalai Peak 40.

 

Total : 1950

 Update 2010

A recent workshop held in Coimbatore with the active participation of Tamil Nadu and Kerala Forest officers identified previously unknown isolated populations. Based on the inputs of the workshop a new compendium was prepared as part of the species recovery plan for Nilgiri tahr (Easa et al, 2010).The figures pertaining to new areas need to be further confirmed by detailed field work. The figure arrived at were min limit of 2617 and  max limit of 4232. Except for areas like Eravikulam,IGWLS and Mukkuruthy we do not have totally reliable estimates. But it can be very safely assumed that we have a minimum of 2600 Nilgiri tahrs in the Western Ghats.

Division

Number of locations

Kanyakumari

9

KMTR

11

Thiruvananthapuram (Wildlife)

2

Thiruvananthapuram

1

Thirunelveli

18

Srivilliputhur GS Sanctuary

16

Theni

8

Ranni

1

Anamalai Tiger Reserve

41

Eravikulam National park

1

Palnis

4

Munnar

6

Nilgiris

16

Silent valley

3

Parambikulam –Nelliampathis

7

Mannarkad, Walayar and Olavakod

12

Chalakudy, Vazhachal, Malayatur

5

Total

161


Update 2015

The recent study by WWF has pegged the population of Nilgiri tahr at 3000 minimum, in the Western Ghats. To be precise the figures computed is 3122. The extensive study discovered some new populations that were elusive till now. 

New Nilgiri tahr populations discovered in the WWF study

Silent Valley NP

Pathrakadavu - 4

Aatumudi - 1

Koomban - 8

Madamudi - 2

  Palghat Forest Division

Aatumalai - 35

  Chinnar WLS

Nandalamalai -  15

Kasimalai - 7

Chengamalai - 11

Munnar Forest Division

Chokramudi - 10

Grizzled Giant Squirrel WLS

Kunvengai Mottai - 5

Naaraimoonji Mottai - 5

Sulivarai/ Vengaisilambu -  5

Theni Forest Division  & Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary

Vasakku Malai - 1

Marakkal Malai - 9

Attiuttu Malai - 9

Above Kunderi - 3

Nagamalai - 1

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Total - 131

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Past Distribution

According to Schaller (1988) sheep and goats evolved some 15-20 million years ago in the rainforests of Southeast Asia and the genus Hemitragus had spread westwards into Europe during the Pleistocene (c. 1.5 million years ago). The Nilgiri Tahr is amongst the few species of mountain Caprinae (and the only Tahr) adapted to a cold and wet tropical environment.

The Nilgiri Tahr prefers a habitat that is predominantly of grasslands adequately sheltered by steep rocky cliffs. The habitat receives not less than 1500mm of rainfall annually and enjoys a short dry season. Such a tropical habitat is restricted to just 7 high altitude landscapes (that lie between 1200 and 2600m ASL) in the southern Western Ghats. This endemic species of mountain goat is therefore limited to a very small geographical area (c. 8o 20’-11o 30’ N; (Davidar, 1978); area that is merely 5% of the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot in India

The Nilgiri Tahr was formally introduced to the world of science by Ogilby in 1837/1838 (Daniels, 2006). However, the species finds mention in colonial literature as early as 1790. According to history, during the military manoeuvre of Arthur Wellesley against Tippu Sultan, the British army marched from Cumbum-Coimbatore through Devamalai of High Ranges. Enroute, it has been recorded that the soldiers killed and ate the Tahr as herds were so tame that they were ‘stuck with bayonets’ (Zacharias, 1999).

Rice (1984) has mentioned that the Tahr was more widespread in the recent past. It had apparently occurred in at least 2/3rd of the higher hills of Tamilnadu suggesting a wider eastward range than present. Further, it had extended north as far as the southwestern hills of Karnataka till about 50 years ago (Davidar, 1978; Mishra and Johnsingh, 1998) and west into the Wyanaad Plateau in Kerala (Zacharias, 1999). It is also presumed that the populations were 10 to 20 times higher. For instance, the Palani Hills alone had supported 25,000-30,000 Tahr at the time that the British invaded the landscape. However, towards the end of the Colonial Period the total population of the Tahr had already dropped to 4000-5000 (Zacharias, 1999).

Although the Nilgiri Tahr has historically had a much wider distribution and larger population size (Davidar, 1978; Rice, 1984; Daniels, 2006), the present geographical range does not exceed 400km, north-south, spanning the Nilgiri Hills and Kanyakumari Hills in the Western Ghats. Over this short range, and within the 6 identified Tahr landscapes where it presently occurs,18 localities were known to support small to large populations that varied in size between 20 and 550 animals. Estimates made at various times during the past 30 years have placed the population size of the Nilgiri Tahr between 2000 and 2500 over its entire range (Daniels, 2006).

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