Photo essay on the upper Nilgiris

Notes from a trip taken in June 2019 to study the upper Nilgiris landscape outside the Mukurthi National Park, a region that deserves greater conservation attention because of the rich wildlife it supports and its important function as a source of water for irrigation, hydroelectricity and drinking.

A normal leopard (male) and a black leopard (female) in the upper Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.


Mukurthi Peak, after which the Mukurthi National Park is named.

A group of Nilgiri tahrs.

Leopards were found in camera traps in 145 locations.

Cestrum aurantiacum, native to the Americas but a weed in the Nilgiris.

Eriobotrya japonica, native to south-central China, grown for its fruit; its leaves are used to make tea.

Euphorbia pulcherrima, a Christmas plant.

A neatly planned hamlet in the Nilgiris. Care should be taken not to allow human populations and concrete constructions to increase in the upper Nilgiris, and efforts should be made to increase its vegetation cover.

Berberis tinctoria, a sloth bear food plant that is edible for humans too.

A Sambar stag in hard antler.

A Gaur group .

A jackal with a sambar leg scavenged from a tiger kill.

A leopard basking on a rock.

Tea gardens and labour colonies. The forest on top of the hill is vital for water conservation.

Tibouchina urvilleana, or princess flower, one of the lovely exotic flowers of the Nilgiris.

A saddleback , or mature male tahr.

Anaphalis neelgerryana on Glenmorgan Hill.

A Nilgiri langur at Cairn Hill, a tourist spot on the outskirts of Ooty.

Feral buffaloes in Parson's Valley; they sometimes chase people.

A sambar stag in the last stages of velvet on Kolaribetta, which at 8,625 feet is the second highest peak in Tamil Nadu.

A pair of Nilgiri martens (the Himalaya has yellow-throated martens).

black leopards were photographed in camera traps in 10 locations.

WWF India camera trap studies carried out in 2018 in the western part of the upper Nilgiris (about 500 sq km) indicated the presence of 35 individual tigers, photographed in 99 locations.

Elephants periodically range into the upper Nilgiris.

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A normal leopard (male) and a black leopard (female) in the upper Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.
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