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September 4, 2004
A member of the ungulates, the Nilgiri tahr is an endemic species to Munnar, Tamil Nadu, and other parts of India. The Nilgiri tahr also represents Tamil Nadu as the state’s national animal. The only distinct physical characteristic is the darker coloration between sexes. Males also possess a light grey area known as a saddleback. A set of curved horns along with short, course bristly manes are found in both males and females. Fully grown horns reach anywhere between 11.8 to 15.7 inches (30 to 40 cm) in length. Preferred habitats consist of open montane grasslands or rainforests at high elevations of 3,937 to 8,530 feet (1,200 to 2,600 m) above sea level. During the early 20th century, this species of ungulates became nearly extinct, with numbers of around 100 individuals left in the wild. However, in recent years, comprehensive studies are showing signs of increasing population density with numbers currently sitting around 3,122.