Eravikulam, a safe haven for Nilgiri tahrs spread in 9700 hectares

Nilgiri tahrs at Eravikulam National Park | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Eravikulam National Park is a favourite spot of Nilgiri tahrs among all the locations of its breeding grounds. The national park spreads in 9700 hectares with lush green grass filled hills and meadows.

Eravikulam is the major protected area of Nilgiri tahrs in southern India. According to the 2021 census, the national park is the abode for 782 Nilgiri tahrs. Apart from Eravikulam, tahrs can be spotted at Grass Hills National Park in Valparai of Tamil Nadu, the Himalayas and some Arab countries.

Nilgiri tahrs belong to the family Bovidae, similar to that of goats. The tahrs with the scientific name ‘Nilgiritragus hylocrius’ choose montane grasslands at high altitudes for habitat. The forest department ensures special arrangements at Eravikulam near Munnar where the Nilgiri tahrs are usually found in herds.

The entire national park has been divided into 13 blocks and the officials observe them from the five interior camp sheds set up in each block here. 81 temporary watchers and 36 permanent staff were deployed for this. The team will function throughout the year and they observe the tahrs by inspecting the hills and shola forests of the park.

Along with this, surveillance cameras were installed in the park by classifying it into 38 grids. The officials keep a watch on the attacks of carnivores also. Each year, the forest department launches special programmes solely to nurture natural meadows for the tahrs to graze. In all three years, a portion of the grassland will be burned to ensure the availability of fresh shoots of grasses for the Nilgiri tahrs.

The tourists visiting here can enjoy the sights of Nilgiri tahrs at Rajamala hills, located very close to the Eravikulam National Park. The visitors can avail of the jeep service of the forest department to reach Rajamala hills from the entrance gate situated at the fifth mile. The conservation efforts of Nilgiri tahrs in Eravikulam National Park have been led by the Munnar Wildlife Warden SV Vinod and Assistant Wildlife Warden Job J Neriamparambil.

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