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Tamil Nadu’s Conservation Efforts for the Endangered Nilgiri Tahr

The government of Tamil Nadu has launched a three-day survey of the Nilgiri Tahr, the state’s iconic animal. This initiative aims to better understand and conserve this endangered species that faces numerous challenges, including habitat loss and poaching.

Collaborative Approach to Conservation

The survey is being carried out in collaboration with renowned organizations such as the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This collaborative effort brings together expertise from various stakeholders, underscoring the multi-faceted approach required for effective conservation.

Protecting an Endemic Species

The Nilgiri Tahr is an endemic species found only in the Western Ghats of India, specifically in the southern regions of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, as well as the Nilgiri Hills and the Eastern Ghats. These majestic ungulates inhabit rugged mountainous terrain, ranging from 1,200 to 2,600 meters, characterized by montane grasslands and shola forests.

Endangered Status and Threats

The Nilgiri Tahr is currently listed as an endangered species by the IUCN and is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. This designation highlights the severe threats faced by the species, including habitat loss, fragmentation due to human activities such as deforestation, agriculture, and infrastructure development, as well as poaching and competition with domestic livestock.

Conservation Initiatives and Captive Breeding

Existing conservation initiatives, such as those in the Eravikulam and Mukurthi National Parks, along with captive breeding programmes, showcase the multi-pronged approach required for the effective conservation of this endangered animal and its habitat.

IUCN: A Global Conservation Authority

The IUCN, established in 1948, is the leading global authority on the status of the natural world and the actions necessary to protect it. As the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, the IUCN plays a crucial role in shaping the global conservation agenda through its democratic processes and international environmental agreements.

By collaborating with organizations like the IUCN, WWF, and WII, the Tamil Nadu government aims to leverage collective resources, expertise, and knowledge to address the complex challenges facing the Nilgiri Tahr and its habitat. This survey marks a significant step towards ensuring the survival and prosperity of this iconic species for generations to come.

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