The indigenous forest cow facing extinction


KOCHI: At a time when the Vechur cow is grabbing headlines, another indigenous variety with similar traits is facing extinction. The forest cow, commonly found in the forest belts of Ernakulam, has declined by 70 per cent.
According to Suresh Kumar, a veterinary surgeon in Kuttampuzha Panchayat, the area where 90 per cent of the cows are found, the number of forest cows has been on the decline. “At least 700 of them have died in the last six years. If remedial measures are not taken, the breed will soon become extinct, a trend which was seen in the case of Vechur cow,” he said.
The cow has huge potential if it is domesticated, he said. The breed can yield at least two litres more milk than the Vechur cow. The fat content in the milk is superior compared to other cows. It has a fat percentage between 8 to 12. Domestication of the cow is easy, as it does not need any special attention. “It can be fed on almost all sorts of food. Also, its resistance to diseases is much higher,” he said.
Left to breed in the forest by the Adivasi communities which look after them, the cow has adapted itself to the wild. The 150-kg cow has the capacity to swim through rivers, which points to its enormous strength and agility.
“The breed is special. That is why there is a need to preserve it. Whenever people purchase these cows for domestication, we advise them to purchase the same bull breed, so as to avoid any mix of the breed.”
Awareness on the cow breed gained popularity in Thiruvananthapuram when one such cow was showcased at the animal fest conducted by the Animal Husbandry Department two years ago. The breed is being displayed at the animal fest held here at the Rajendra Maidan.


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