Eravikulam National Park is famous for this rare animal

landscapes of Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park (image via: Malayalam Photo Blog)

Eravikulam National Park is a Picturesque haven for animal enthusiasts and wild life photographers and is famous for The Nilgiri Tahr among a few endemic animals. The Ervikulam National Park became a sanctuary in 1975 and was later given that status of a national park in 1978. The National park is once in a lifetime adventure for those who wish to see the lush greenery, gorgeous landscapes and the diverse wildlife of it.

The Eravikulum national park is treasure of flora and fauna because of which the Government of Kerala keeps a keen eye of the ecosystem of the national park and make sure that tourism doesn’t get in the way of disrupting the natural flow of cycle of the ecosystem in the park. In this article, we will discuss about the Eravikulum National Park animals that reside and have made the national park their humble abode. Before, we further discuss on animals in the national park, lets discuss about the location and geography of Eravikulam National Park.

Geography of the Eravikulam National Park

A group of Nilgiri tahr feeding on grass on the highlands of Eravikulam national park
A herd of Nilgiri Tahrs (Image via: Kerala Tourism)

The national park is located in the Idukki district of Kerala, to be exact the location of Eravikulam national park is at longitude and latitude of 10°08’43″N 77°02’11″E. The national park is spread across an area of 97 square kilo meter making one of India’s largest national park due which it is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The southern side of the park known as The Anamudi is known as the highest peak south of the Himalayas at shocking height of 2695 meters. The terrain is most covered with rolling grassland, sholas and hillocks. If you are wondering what is a Shola? It is a local name given for patches of tropical montane forest which are usually found within green valleys as such as Munnar.

Fauna of Eravakilum National Park

The national park is packed with rich biodiversity that includes 29 species of mammals, 140 species of birds and more than 100 varieties of butterflies along with 20 species of amphibians.

The local mammals species consist of Nilgiri langur, lion-tailed macaques,gaur, red muntjac, wild boar, sambar, Golden jackals, dhole, wild jungle cats, Indian leopard, chital, Bengal Tiger and Indian Elephants that make seldom visits to the valley with the herd.

Other smaller species of mammals include rodents, stripe-necked mongooses, Nilgiri marten, Indian crested porcupine and Asian small-clawed otter among the few others. The National park makes up for brilliant birdwatching with 132 record spices of birds in the spread out area of 97 square kilo meters that include black-and-orange flycatcher, Nilgiri pipit, Niligi flycatcher, Palani laughingthrush and the Nilgiri blue robin

The Nilgiri Tahr

Nilgiri Tahr grass feeding on the green hills of Munnar
Niligiri Tahrs (Image via: Munnarinfo)

The Nilgiri Tahr is an endemic animal and a famous animal that resides in Eravikulam National Park. It is a herbivorous mountain ungulate known too be endemic to the Western Ghats of South India, Kerala. It has very muscular appearance, characterized by a stocky body, shaggy and coarse coat and a pair of strong curved horns . This species is the most unique when compared to its other counter parts especially due to its impressive curved horns which can grow up to 40 centimeters in length for the male and 30 centimeters in length for the female.

The adult male Nilgiri Tahr grows patch of grey area on their back due to which they are also known as “saddlebacks‘ This species is only found in the Southern part of India. The hunting and poaching of this endemic species in the 19th century reduced their population down to just around 100 Niligiri tahrs by the 20th century. The leading cause to their reduced population was deforestation and disturbance caused by invasive species. Luckily the population of the mountain goat-Niligiri Tahr suddenly spiked . As per the census conduced by WWF India ( World Wide Fund for Nature ) India has a total population at 3122.

Eravikulam National Park being home to the largest amount of the population of Nilgiri Tahr at 894 as per the wildlife census conducted by Kerala forest department in association with volunteers from College of Forestry and Veterinary Science under Kerala Agricultural University, from April 24–28, 2014.

The other significant population of the Nilgiri tahr are spread across Nilgiri Hills, Anamalai Hills, Periyar National Park, Palani Hills, Boothapandi, Azhakiyapandipuram, Velimalai, Kulasekaram, and Kalliyal Ranges in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. A few more handful of the mountain goats can be found in the area of Ponmudi Hills, Trivandrum district of Kerala.

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