The Eravikulam National Park, located near Munnar in Kerala and known globally, is scheduled to be inaccessible to visitors from February 1 to March 31 this year. This temporary closure is in consideration of the breeding season of the Nilgiri tahr. A directive from Mr. D. Jayaprasad, the Chief Wildlife Warden, has conveyed that the park will resume its regular operation on April 1, 2024. Officials have emphasized that the presence of visitors during the breeding season could disrupt the Nilgiri tahrs, prompting the decision for this brief closure.
The Nilgiri tahr, scientifically named Nilgiritragus hylocrius, is a mountain-dwelling ungulate exclusively found in the Nilgiri Hills and the southern region of the Western Ghats within the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The largest population of Nilgiri tahrs is found in the Eravikulam National Park. In the most recent annual census, 785 tahrs were observed within the park’s boundaries. Referred to locally as Varayadu, these animals receive protection under Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972, and are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).