Nilgiri Tahr Conservation: Tamil Nadu Announces Rs 25 Crore Project To Protect The Animal, Revive Habitat
The species, Nilgiri tahr, once inhabited a large portion of Western Ghats, but it is now restricted to a few pockets.
There are several references to the Nilgiri tahr in the 2,000-year-old Tamil Sangam literature.
The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday issued orders to conserve the Nilgiri tahr through a project that is touted as the first in the country.
The Rs 25.14-crore project would be implemented during a five-year period from 2022-2027, and follow a strategy including synchronised surveys to estimate numbers of the tahrs through radio telemetry and radio-collaring, among others, the government said.
Locally known as Varaiaadu, the tahr has been an endangered species and protected under schedule-I of the Wildlife (protection) Act of India, 1972.
The animal is endemic to the Western Ghats, which are internationally recognised as a region of immense global importance due to its bio-diversity.
As per a Worldwide Fund for Nature Report 2015, there are 3,122 tahrs in the wild. The species once inhabited a large portion of Western Ghats, but it is now restricted to a few pockets. This was because of habitat loss, biotic pressure, invasive and exotic species and adverse impact of climate change.
The project - the Nilgiri tahr - aims to restore its original habitat and try to re-introduce the species in areas where they originally lived, an official release said.
The project would have also a major component to restore the fragmented habitat. Restoration of Shola grasslands which is the major habitat for the animal would be taken up as a priority, the order said.
Further, every 7 October, would be observed as the Nilgiri Tahr Day coinciding with the birth anniversary of E R C Davidar who pioneered the first study on the animal in 1975 to enhance awareness on the need for conserving the animal, the order said.
It is proposed to re-introduce development of tahr-based eco-tourism under the leadership of a director who would have an assistant.
There are several references to the Nilgiri tahr in the 2,000-year-old Tamil Sangam literature. Two of the five great epics of the Sangam period, Silappathikaram and Sivaka Cintamaṇi include descriptions of the tahr and its habitat.
(with inputs from PTI)
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