Booked for the Nilgiris

© Provided by Mid-Day

While tailing her father who worked for a tea company, author Arthy Muthanna Singh fondly remembers their years in Korakundah Estate, which borders Mukurthi National Park in Tamil Nadu. “One has to see that landscape to believe it! Green, lush sholas, the grasslands, the streams, the lakes…awe-inspiring! I spotted practically every wonderful animal found in the Nilgiris and Kodagu [Coorg], but I’m still waiting for my own first sight of the Nilgiri tahr,” she shares. Her desire to see the rare, elusive state animal of Tamil Nadu has been partially fulfilled through World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF India)’s comic book, Valli’s Nilgiri Adventures, that she has penned along with Mamta Nainy. 

Mamta Nainy; Arthy Muthanna Singh

The title follows a schoolgirl, Valli, on a class trip to Mukurthi National Park, with the chirpy wildlife enthusiast determined to spot the Nilgiri tahr. Nainy reveals that the research behind the book was intense: “We discovered so many things about the Nilgiri tahr that has broadened our understanding of the species.”

Through an engaging narrative and pleasant, watercolour illustrations, the book captures not only the rich flora and fauna of the Blue Mountains, but also sheds light on its ecological relevance, the relationship between nature and the local community, and reminds us about the importance of conservation. The title also packs in resource guides about the tahr. “During our discussions with WWF, we mutually agreed that we wanted to create a platform that made information about the Nilgiri tahr accessible to young readers, but doesn’t come across like an expert explaining details of the species,” says Muthanna Singh. They add that using a school trip as the warp of the story, they’ve tried to bring the Nilgiris closer to young readers, so they can experience the magic and mystery of the landscape, the excitement of spotting various birds and animals, and have a great time in the process.

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