Munnar: The annual census of the Nilgiri tahrs in the forest area under the Munnar wildlife division of the Kerala Forest Department started on Tuesday. This region includes the renowned Eravikulam National Park.
As many 66 people are taking part in the survey following COVID-19 protocols and considering the pandemic situation, only Forest Department personnel have been included in the census team. The entire forest area has been divided into 22 blocks for taking the count of the Nilgiri tahrs and each block would be covered by a Forest officer and two watchers.
Before the start of the census, Forest Warden R Lakshmi gave the necessary instructions to the team members on Monday. The team members would pitch tents in the forest to carry out the census and would return only on April 24.
During last year’s census, the Forest Department had counted 723 Nilgiri tahrs, including 111 newborns, in the Munnar region. This year, during a general observation, officials have noticed 98 newborns at Eravikulam alone.
Munnar saw an increase in the number of tourists after the Kerala government eased travel restrictions in the state. As COVID-19 cases are steadily increasing in the state, entry restrictions to popular tourist spots are expected.