B Satheesh Muthu Gopal
This image of Gaur in Kodaikanal town in the Palani Hills of South India represents a common sight these days. The reasons for their sauntering into urban areas and hanging around need to be studied in detail, but some, or several, of the following factors, may play a role: habitat fragmentation due to the haphazard growth of Kodaikanal town, private estates, and plantations (and perhaps the fencing around these lands), rampant tourism and development, invasion of the shola-grassland ecosystem by exotic species like eucalyptus, pine and wattle, and shortage of food and water during summer periods.
Whatever the reasons, such close contact between wild animals and people cannot be good for either.
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Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
The relaxed demeanour of this gaur herd roaming inside Kodaikanal town indicates that they are very used to people and traffic. What will we see next? A tiger making a gaur kill with people watching?!