Nature

Tahrs, ruminating…

Nilgiri Tahrs

Tahrs, they ruminate… like most of their ungulate brethren, both literally and figuratively… jaws in their slow, perpetual drawl… scuttling along hurriedly to bite the grass and then standing and gazing dreamily as they work on the cud… like most prey, their existence is marked by a stoical acceptance – expecting death at every step, accepting death without blinking an eye…

Tahrs of India - Nilgiri Tahr

Then there is this whole philosophical discourse on goatism… a philosopher’s gloat on the goat, transforming a gentle caprine into an omnivoracious life form just for the sake of a hypothesis… talk about scapegoating… although one must admit that the premise of everything being a goat does sound intriguing… and delicious, considering the amount of eating involved…

Tahrs of India - Nilgiri Tahr

Thus one mused, looking at Nilgiris Tahrs sauntering nonchalantly in Eravikulam National Park, a rather gregarious tribe of more than a dozen individuals that had since long decided to throw caution to the wind and be unperturbed by the travails of the Anthropocene, regaling the tourists and ensuring revenue for the authorities… this trope of payment for ecosystem services, a rather suicidal premise when it comes to the future of environmental conservation but one that diverts attention from the foundation fallacies and keeps the balance sheets afloat…

Tahrs of India - Nilgiri Tahr

One can imagine tectonics at play looking at the Tahrs, the colliding plates leaving these goats stranded in their isolated habitats, from Himalayan heights to these inhabitants of the Western Ghats to their kin in eastern Arabia… then there’s all that confusion of the common name… the fluffy blue sheep is actually a goat and the Tahr despite its goat-like appearance is more closely related to sheep…  

Nilgiri Tahr

Although their numbers have bounced back quite impressively since the turn of the 20th century, they’re still classified as endangered in the IUCN Red List… confined to the southern Western Ghats, fragmentation of habitat, competition with livestock for fodder, and non-palatable invasive species are the major threats…

Tahrs of India - Nilgiri Tahr

The animal somehow seems to be cognizant of this fact, carrying a pensive expression that refuses to go away… and the mountains brood with them… the mist trying to shroud them, the Shola forests and grasslands wanting to embosom them, the rolling hills striving hard to cache them far far away, where the wild things are the Homo sapiens aren’t…

Nilgiri Tahr

Musing on Nilgiri Tahrs, Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

Author: Parth Joshi

Mountain lover ⛰️ | Hiker 🥾| Runner 🏃‍♂️ | Cyclist 🚴 | Photographer 📷... allured by the outdoors, the author is a quintessential lost soul craving for the outdoors while suffering in a desk job...

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