Nilgiri Tahr Census
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Mating - an interesting news
The mating season of Nilgiri Tahrs begins with monsoon. Heavy rainfall starts towards July month and from there the next two months will be the mating season. The male Tahrs wet themselves in their own urine and decorate their horns with mud and grasses to attract female Tahrs! Like human beings when two or more male Tahrs compete for the attraction of the same female, fight will break out to prove the strength!. After mating females usually give birth to a single kid. The gestation period of Tahr is 180 days.
Goats and Tahrs
Man is a social animal. In olden age he lived in forest and was tamed with animals. When he got civilised he came out of forest for living. Still his friendship with the animals didn't cut. He brought some animals like cow , buffalo and goats out of their natural habitats namely forests. His experiments succeeded and they became domestic animals. Now farmers use these animals for ploughing their field , for getting milk to drink , for getting cow dung as fertilser to their crops and so on.
Since buffaloes and cows were animals with great strength and size people began to rear small animals especially goats. They understood that goats are good for a small family for milk needs. Its milk has medicinal values also. So medium and small farmer families began to rear goats in their houses.
Goats are common in my country, India. A number of farmers rear goats in their home or farm. A number of varieties are also available according to the needs of the farmers. They are mainly reared for milk and meat. Hybrid varieties and indegenous varieties are reared in same place nowadays.
Since man and goats have long years relation people have a belief that goats are domestic animals. But it is amazing that some goats are seen in mountains only. They cannot be reared in houses. They are regarded as wild animals. The Nilgiri Tahr found mostly in Eravikulam National Park in Kerala is the only mountain goat found in South India.
Besides Eravikulam National Park Nilgiri Tahrs are seen in Anamalai area in Periyar National park and in Kanyakumari district in Tamilnadu. It is told that in Ponmudi hills in Thiruvananthapuram of Kerala state is also have Tahr population in low amount.
Nilgiri Tahr is called "Varayadu" in local language. Eventhough it is the preserved variety in Eravikulam National Park of Kerala it is the state animal of Kerala's neighbour state Tamilnadu. Kerala's state animal is elephant which is mainly preserved in Wayanad Wild life sanctuary.
Do you know the different variety of Tahrs ? They are -
1. Nilgiri Tahr - found in Nilgiri hills or western ghats
2. Himalayan Tahr - Found in Himalayan ranges
3. Arabian Tahr - Found in Arabian sub continent
All of these Tahrs are wild varieties. So they are not reared domestically.
Wild life Census
How many wild animals will be present in area or a forest? It is a difficult question to answer. But there is correct answer to such questions also which are got through wild life census. The wild life census are carried out in every year to identify the endangered species and to have a knowledge about them. When endangered species is recognized they will be given special protection in special areas. National parks and wild life sanctuaries are set up by considering these facts. Thus the wild variety of goats the Nilgiri Tahrs are preserved in Eravikulam National Park in Munnar, Idukki of Kerala state in India.
Recently the Kerala state forest department along with some non governmental organizations working in Kerala carried out a census of Nilgiri Tahr in Munnar wildlife division. The counting of the Tahrs was done using bounded counts to ensure atmost accuracy. Bounded counts is a statistical tool developed by chief co-ordinator of the census Mr.Rajan Varghese in 1984. The method necessitated simultaneous scanning and survey of 13 blocks in this division, based on identified Tahr home ranges. The same process repeated for five days by various teams. The team was comprised of volunteers , forest officials and trackers. Also geographical positioning system (GPS) was used for the first time in data collection. This also eliminated errors to a great extent.
When the census was over it was found that the number of Nilgiri Tahr has increased slightly. In last year’s census the count was only 879. The latest census data shows that at present the number of Nilgiri Tahr in Eravikulam National Park is 894. Eventhough it is slight increase it is a happy news because it was nearly endangered due to massive hunting. So it can also be told that the program launched for protection of Nilgiri Tahr was successful.