Nilgiri Martens, Mukurthi, Nilgirisby Prakash Ramakrishnan
Chosen as Picture of the Week
There has been no scientific study of the Nilgiri Marten till date, and whatever we know of their distribution or habits is thanks to anecdotal information from chance encounters. This picture was shot in the High Nilgiris in Oct 2011.
On the 18th of October, 2011, we were camping in a trekking shed, on the way to Mukurthi peak in the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. The trek involved walking about 3 km through wattle and grassland to reach a stream, followed by another uphill trek. Two of us reached the last hill around 11 AM, and as it was hot, we decided to turn back. The disappointment at not completing the trek turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As we reached the stream, someone suddenly shouted “mongoose”. The moment I spotted the animal, I knew it was a Nilgiri Marten. It came very close to us and by the time I took out my camera, it had vanished. We ran about 100 metres to look for it. Suddenly, on a rock, we saw a pair of martens looking at us. They then climbed a small hill and separated from each other. One marten was very curious and it came back towards us, walked on top of a fallen dead tree and gave us a good sighting for a few minutes. I shot around 50 photos, before it vanished into the grass.