NILGIRI TAHR/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus



DESCRIPTION: A handsome goat, the male Nilgiri Tahr looks like a shorn version of the male Himalayan Tahr, without the flowing mane and hair. The females have a short, greyish brown coat, whitish underparts and a buff patch around the eyes and the muzzle. The legs are darker than the body and there is a conspicuous dark spot (carpal patch) above the knees. The female has a single pair of teats unlike the Himalayan Tahr. Adult males assume a blue-black colour grizzled with white hair, a short bristly mane from nape to mid-back and just posterior to that a distinctive whitish or pale saddle-shaped patch, giving it the popular regional nomenclature of ‘saddleback’. The male has two clear, dark patches on the bridge of the nose and on the face below the eyes, separated by a streak of pale fur. The legs are darker in the front as in females, but exactly where the females have dark spots above the knees, the males have a pair of white spots. Both sexes share characteristics such as a pale abdomen and rump, short, black wispy tail, and a dark dorsal band through the length of their back. They havemedium-sized horns that are parallel, heavily ridged and curved backwards. The keel is short and exists along the front inner angle. Yearlings are grey and have horns between 7–14 cm; any animal with shorter horns is a kid. Class I or light brown males are very similar to adult females, including the black carpal patch, but the scrotum or penis sheath is visible. Class II or large light brown males are larger, stockier, with heavier horns and the carpal patch starts turning white. Class III or dark brown males have white carpal patches, dark brown bodies but no saddle. Class IV or saddleback have a clear saddle on their backs. In younger saddlebacks, the saddle is off-white and the shoulders turn black, older ones have a silver-grey saddle and the shoulders and neck turn black, and the oldest of males have a silver saddle and the shoulders, neck and withers are black.
BEHAVIOUR: While the herd rests in the hot afternoon hours, a very conspicuous sentinel stands guard. This sentinel can be an adult female just as much as a subadult male, unlike many other caprids.
DISTRIBUTION: In several fragmented populations in Kerala and Tamil Nadu along the Western Ghats. Current fragments are in the Nilgiri Hills, Silent Valley, Siruveni Hills, Elival Mala, Nelliyampathy Hills, Top Slip and Parambikulam, Eastern Slopes and Grass Hills of Anamalai, Swamimalai, Eravikulam NP, High Range, Palani Hills, Highwavy mountains, Mudaliar Oothu, Vellakaltheri, Ashambu Hills and Thiruvannamalai peak.
HABITAT: Montane grassland and rocky crags, interspersed with shola or stunted montane wet-evergreen forests of the Nilgiris. Uses grassland dominated by Eulalia phyothrix and Andropogon polyptichus.

Size: 150 cm 

Wt: 50–100 kg

IUCN Status: Endangered


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