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Nilgiri Tahr

 / ©: V. Dakshinamurthy/WWF-India
The Nilgiri Tahrs are stocky goats with short, coarse fur and a bristly mane.
© V. Dakshinamurthy/WWF-India

Key Facts

  • Common Name

    Nilgiri Tahr

  • Scientific Name

    Hemitragus hylocrius

  • Geographic Habitat:

    Tamil Nadu, Kerala

  • Population

    Around 2500

  • Height:

    Around 100 cm

  • Weight:

    80-100 kg

  • Status:

    Endangered

  • Did you know?

    Only species of Caprine ungulate found south of the Himalayas in India.

The Nilgiri Tahr is an ungulate that is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in southern India. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu.

Habitat:

The Nilgiri Tahr inhabits the open montane grassland habitat of the South Western Ghats. At elevations from 1200 to 2600 m (generally above 2000 m), the forests open into grasslands interspersed with pockets of stunted forests, known as sholas. These grassland habitats are surrounded by dense forests at the lower elevations. Their range extends over 400 km from north to south, and Eravikulam National Park is home to the largest population. The other significant concentration is in the Nilgiri Hills, with smaller populations in the Anamalai Hills,Periyar National Park, Palni Hills and other pockets in the Western Ghats south of Eravikulam, almost to India's southern tip. 
 / ©: Peter Paul Predit/WWF-India
A herd of tahr comprising of all age & sex
© Peter Paul Predit/WWF-India

Characteristics:

Nilgiri Tahrs are stocky goats with short, coarse fur and a bristly mane. Males are larger than the females, and have a darker color when mature. Both sexes have curved horns, which are larger in the males, reaching up to 40 cm for males and 30 cm for females. Adult males weigh 80–100 kg and stand about 100 cm tall at the shoulder. Adult males develop a light grey area or "saddle" on their backs and are hence called "saddlebacks".