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Project Nilgiri Tahr: Tamil Nadu’s Effort to Conserve an Endangered Species

Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has launched “Project Nilgiri Tahr,” an initiative aimed at conserving and protecting the endangered Nilgiri Tahr species. The project, with a budget of ₹25 crore, seeks to better understand the Nilgiri Tahr’s population, distribution, and ecology, as well as address immediate threats to their survival. The launch of this project took place at the Secretariat in Chennai, where Chief Minister Stalin also distributed books to school students to raise awareness about this unique species.

Project Nilgiri Tahr represents Tamil Nadu’s commitment to conserving an iconic and endangered species. The comprehensive approach, encompassing research, re-introduction, and public awareness, underlines the state’s dedication to protecting the Nilgiri Tahr and its unique habitat, securing the future of this remarkable species in the Western Ghats.

Project Objectives

  • Understanding Nilgiri Tahr Ecology: A core objective of Project Nilgiri Tahr is to develop a deeper understanding of the Nilgiri Tahr’s population, distribution, and ecological requirements. This knowledge is crucial for their conservation.
  • Re-introduction to Historic Habitats: The project aims to re-introduce Nilgiri Tahr to their historic habitats, helping to restore their natural range and protect their populations.
  • Addressing Immediate Threats: Project Nilgiri Tahr focuses on identifying and addressing immediate threats to the Nilgiri Tahr’s survival. This includes actions to protect and conserve their habitat.
  • Public Awareness: Increasing awareness among the public about the Nilgiri Tahr species is a vital component of the project. Education and outreach efforts are essential to garner support for conservation.
  • Eco-Tourism Development: The project also envisions the development of eco-tourism activities at selected sites to promote conservation through sustainable tourism.

Key Activities

  • Bi-annual Surveys: Regular bi-annual surveys will be conducted across the Nilgiri Tahr’s habitat to monitor their populations.
  • Tranquilization and Monitoring: The project involves the tranquilization, collaring, and monitoring of Nilgiri Tahr individuals to collect crucial data for conservation efforts.
  • Re-introduction: Re-introducing Nilgiri Tahr to their natural habitats is a key component of the project to restore their populations.
  • Diagnosis and Treatment: The project includes diagnosis and treatment for affected individuals, ensuring their health and well-being.
  • Shola Grassland Restoration: The pilot project aims to restore Shola grasslands in the Upper Bhavani region, a critical habitat for the Nilgiri Tahr.

Project Implementation

  • Project Office: The Forest Department has established a project office in Coimbatore to oversee and manage the various aspects of Project Nilgiri Tahr.
  • Project Leadership: A full-time Project Director and a Senior Scientist, assisted by four Senior Research Fellows, have been appointed to lead and execute the project’s activities.

The Significance of Nilgiri Tahr

The Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered species native to the Western Ghats, is renowned for its remarkable ability to navigate steep cliffs and challenging terrain. This species has historical and cultural significance, with references in ancient Tamil literature, including the epics Silappathikaram and Sivakasindamani, which provide descriptions of the Nilgiri Tahr and its habitat.

Distinguished Attendees

The launch of Project Nilgiri Tahr saw the participation of key officials, including Minister for Forests M. Mathiventhan, Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena, Secretary of Environment, Climate Change, and Forests Department Supriya Sahu, and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Srinivas R. Reddy.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Tamil Nadu Capital: Chennai;
  • Tamil Nadu Chief minister: M. K. Stalin;
  • Tamil Nadu Governor: R. N. Ravi.

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