Animal of the Week: Nilgiri Tahr, Anaimalai, India

Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius)

Great place to see the Nilgiri tahr: Anaimalai, Tamil Nadu, India

Inhabiting the montane grasslands of the southern part of the Western Ghats, this sheep is an adorable wild being you don’t want to miss seeing and photographing in Anaimalai. Nilgiri tahr, also known as ibex or the Nilgiri ibex, is found in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Although it seems to resemble more of a goat, this tahr is more closely related to the sheep, particularly of the Ovis genus. It has short, brown coarse fur and curved horns (seen in both male and female). The adult male tahr has a light grey area on its back, which brings it the name ‘saddlebacks’.

In the early 20th century, due to various reasons including poaching and hunting, this sheep’s population was reduced to as low as about 100. It’s an endangered species according to the IUCN list, and currently, the number has increased to a little more than 3100 according to WWF-India.

In the rainforest ecoregions of the Western Ghats, the forests open into patches of grasslands, and at elevations between 1,200 and 2,600 metres, this tahr makes itself home. And for this ability to adapt itself at those altitudes, the Nilgiri tahr is our Animal of the Week!

See the amazing Nilgiri tahr on our Rainforest Photography Expedition to Anaimalai.


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