Rare Livestock Breeds In Himalayan Belt Under Threat
21 October 2007
New Delhi: The Himalayan belt has lost a dozen rarest of rare indigenous breeds of sheep, goats, horses and dogs and almost half a dozen rare native breeds considered most threatened in the world. A field study in the higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir conducted by the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation revealed that the distinctive breeds reared by the nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals from times immemorial have gradually been lost. The loss began after 1968 when the authorities introduced certain foreign origin breeds in the state to get the maximum yield in wool and meat. Releasing the study, Dr. Javaid Rahi, national secretary of the Foundation said that it was unfortunate that the planners while introducing the cross breeds among the livestock of the nomads did not preserve the native ones. 'Most Gujjars and Bakerwals unhappy with the cross breeding of their livestock wish to switch over to their traditional breeds but these do not exist anywhere in the Himalayan belt,' he said. The study charged that no genetic study had been conducted to preserve the distinct livestock of Gujjars and Bakerwals. 'The world over government institutions preserve the genes of the rarest of rare breeds and where cross breeds do not work or are not viable in terms of climate or commercial benefits, they switch back to the original breeds and thus safeguard the interests of the people. This has not been done in the Himalayan states,' it said. Among the traditional sheep, the ghidord phamphri, punchi bakerwali, bani and karnahi have become extinct while in the goat breeds, the gurziya, belori, lamdi and goodri have suffered the same fate. Horse breeds such as yarkandi (bakerwali), nukra and bharssi have vanished. The study found that goat breeds such as kaghani, lubdi and kilan were on the verge of extinction as also the horse breeds of jaskardi and kaliani. The Gujjars and Bakerwals have lost almost all the native breeds of sheep and presently they have only the Australia ones. It was possible that a few of the Gujjar breeds may have been preserved in some areas of Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan and could be imported, the study suggested.