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Conservation

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.
A normal leopard (male) and a black leopard (female) in the upper Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.Photo: Prakash Ramakrishnan
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Mukurthi Peak, after which the Mukurthi National Park is named.
Mukurthi Peak, after which the Mukurthi National Park is named.
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A group of Nilgiri tahrs.
A group of Nilgiri tahrs.Photo: A. Vinoth/WWF India
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Leopards were found in camera traps in 145 locations.
Leopards were found in camera traps in 145 locations. Photo: Tamil Nadu Forest Department and WWF India
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Cestrum aurantiacum,  native to the Americas but a weed in the Nilgiris.
Cestrum aurantiacum, native to the Americas but a weed in the Nilgiris.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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Eriobotrya japonica,  native to south-central China, grown for its fruit; its leaves are used to make tea.
Eriobotrya japonica, native to south-central China, grown for its fruit; its leaves are used to make tea.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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Euphorbia pulcherrima, a Christmas plant.
Euphorbia pulcherrima, a Christmas plant. Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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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.
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.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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Berberis tinctoria,  a sloth bear food plant that is edible for humans too.
Berberis tinctoria, a sloth bear food plant that is edible for humans too.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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A Sambar stag   in  hard antler.
A Sambar stag in hard antler.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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A Gaur group .
A Gaur group .Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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A jackal  with a sambar leg scavenged from a tiger kill.
A jackal with a sambar leg scavenged from a tiger kill.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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A leopard  basking on a rock.
A leopard basking on a rock.Photo: Prakash Ramakrishnan
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Tea gardens  and labour colonies. The forest on top of the hill is vital for water conservation.
Tea gardens and labour colonies. The forest on top of the hill is vital for water conservation.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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Tibouchina urvilleana,  or princess flower, one of the lovely exotic flowers of the Nilgiris.
Tibouchina urvilleana, or princess flower, one of the lovely exotic flowers of the Nilgiris.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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A saddleback , or mature male tahr.
A saddleback , or mature male tahr.Photo: A. Vinoth/WWF India
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Anaphalis neelgerryana  on Glenmorgan Hill.
Anaphalis neelgerryana on Glenmorgan Hill.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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A Nilgiri langur  at Cairn Hill, a tourist spot on the outskirts of Ooty.
A Nilgiri langur at Cairn Hill, a tourist spot on the outskirts of Ooty.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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Feral buffaloes   in Parson's Valley; they sometimes chase people.
Feral buffaloes in Parson's Valley; they sometimes chase people.Photo: A.J.T. Johnsingh
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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 sambar stag in the last stages of velvet on Kolaribetta, which at 8,625 feet is the second highest peak in Tamil Nadu.Photo: <HA,4,200>A.J.T. Johnsingh
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A pair of Nilgiri martens (the Himalaya has yellow-throated martens).
A pair of Nilgiri martens (the Himalaya has yellow-throated martens). Photo: Prakash Ramakrishnan
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black leopards  were photographed in camera traps in 10 locations.
black leopards were photographed in camera traps in 10 locations.Photo: Tamil Nadu Forest Department and WWF India
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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.
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.Photo: Tamil Nadu Forest Department and WWF India
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Elephants periodically range into the upper Nilgiris.
Elephants periodically range into the upper Nilgiris. Photo: D. Boominathan/WWF India
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