The Department of Forests and Wildlife expects a large tourist inflow to Eravikulam National Park, which holds the largest viable population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, once it reopens on Friday.
“A large inflow of tourists is expected once the National Park, the most sought-after destination in Munnar region, opens. On an average, 2,000 tourists would turn up at the National Park every day. It wont be less than 1,500 a day. The tourists started making enquiries many weeks ago. Many even turned up not knowing that the ban was extended to April 10, which had earlier been fixed till April 4,” a source said. The ban on the entry of tourists to the National Park was from February 3 to April 4, owing to the calving season of Nilgiri Tahrs. But it had been extended to April 10 as the calving was not over. The department had made an income of Rs 2.99 crore from the tourists inflow last year in spite of heavy monsoon. The department expects the income to go up to Rs 3.5 crore this year. According to sources, unlike in the past, for the last two years, heavy monsoon hadn’t dithered tourists from visiting Eravikulam National Park.Though December-January period witnesses the largest inflow of visitors, April-May also stand as a “fruitful” time as far as tourism is concerned.
The department is also optimistic that the number of Nilgiri Tahrs would also show an increase after the calving season. In last year’s census, the Nilgiri Tahr population in the National Park was 871, 60 more than the year before. This time the census would be conducted between April 22 and 29.
“Some of the calves would be eaten by other animals. Still, we hope that there would be an increase in the number of the tahrs,” Eravikulam National Park Assistant Wildlife Warden C P Soman said.