Gujjars Lose 12 Pet Species, 6 on Verge of Extinction: Study

Kashmir Observer

Srinagar, Oct 20 (KONS): Within the period of last 40 years the nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals have lost one dozen of the rarest of rare traditional and indigenous species of sheep, goat, horses and dogs and almost half a dozen of rare native species considered most threatened in the world are at the verge of extinction in Himalayan belt of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, a recent study made public today said.

The study, conducted by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, a national organization working on tribal affairs of India – reveals that the species which were distinctive with nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals from the times immemorial have gradually been lost since 1968 when Indian Council for Agricultural Research, New Delhi ( ICAR) under Ministry of Agriculture , Government of India, introduced certain foreign origin breeds in the state, adding this was done in order to get maximum yield in terms of wool, mutton and other viable benefits and is continues till date.

Releasing the study, Dr Javaid Rahi, the national secretary of Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation said that it is unfortunate that the planners while introducing the cross breeds among the livestock of nomads have not plan to preserved the native and indigenous species of the livestock of the Gujjars and Bakerwals in any pocket of the Himalayan belt.

The study reveals that among the traditional species of sheep, Ghidord Phamphri, Punchi Bakerwali, Bani and Karnahi have already vanished while in the goat species Gurziya , Belori, Lamdi, and Goodri, species have already been extinct.

In the horse breeds Yarkandi (Bakerwali), Nukra and Bharssi horse species have do not exist any more.

Study further reveals that in goat species, Kaghani , Lubdi and Kilan species are at the verge of extinction while as the Jaskardi, Kaliani and other rare species of horses are also at the verge of extinction.

The Gujjars and Bakerwals of Himalayan belt have lost almost all the native species of Sheep and presently they have only foreign Australian an Merino species of sheep are available in the livestock. The study further reveals that the Bhrokpa, Changpa and Dard tribes of Ladakh are lucky enough as their traditional species of their livestock are still preserved in remote pockets of Shivalik area of Himalayan belt.

“Most of Gujjars and Bakerwals who are unhappy with the present state of affairs in respect of cross breeding of their livestock wish to switch over to their traditional breeds but such species do not exist anywhere in the Himalayan belt of India.” Rahi said.

It is astonishing that no genetic study has been ever conducted to preserved the distinct characteristics of the primitive traditional species of the livestock of Gujjars and Bakerwals and without the knowledge of consequences, such species have lost their existence, the study said .

“It is a world wide phenomena that the government institutions preserve the genres of rarest of rare species and the same has been done in respect of Australia , Canada, USA, UK, USSR and brazil where besides introducing cross breeds the traditional species have also been preserved and where cross breed does not work or is not viable in terms of climate or commercial benefits, they switch back to original species and thus safeguard the interests of the people connected with livestock . The same has not been in case of Himalayan States of India , by ICAR .

In same difficult areas of the Himalayan Region some of the foreign origin breeds have almost failed to deliver the required results and in the meanwhile the rarest rare of species which were for mountainous and cold regions of the area have been finished to take the place, said the study.

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Filed under animals, conservation, endangered, extinction, india, nature, pakistan, wildlife, zoology

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