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Flora & Fauna

Eravikulam National Park harbours the largets surviving population of Nilgiri tahr (Hemitragus hylocrius). This endangerd animal is endemic to the southern Western Ghats. Its nearest relative is the Himalayan tahr. The fully grown male is known as 'saddle back' is much bigger and darker than the female and has a silvery saddle like patch on its back. Mating takes place during monsoons and the birth season is January-February. The estimated population of tahr inside the park is about 700. Wild dog, leoperd and tiger are the main predators. Apart from tahr, other little known animals such as Nilgiri marten, small clawed otter, ruddy mongoose, and dusky striped squirrel are also found. Elephants make seasonal visits.

About 120 species of birds have been recorded which include endemics like black and ornage flycatcher, Nilgiri pipit, Nilgiri wood pegeon, white bellied shortwing, Nilgiri verditer flycatcher and Kerala laughing thrush. Endemics confined to the shola-grass land ecosystem like the red disk bushbrown and Palni fourwing are among the 100 odd butterflies listed inside the park.

The shola-grassland ecosystem is a strange admixture of temprature and tropical qualities due to the combined effects of altitude as well as latitude. It is exceptionally rich in orchids and balsams. The spectacular mass flowering of the shrub neelakurunji (Phlebophyllum kunthianum) takes place in the grasslands in cycles of the 12yrs. The next neelakurunji 'outburst' is due in the year 2006.

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Department of Forests and Wildlife, Goverment of Kerala