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Gujjars lose rare species, some on verge of extinction: Study

Written by: Staff

Srinagar, Oct 21 (UNI) The Gujjars and Bakerwals have lost about one dozen rare and the most threatened species of their livestock during the past 40 years while the remaining are on the verge of extinction in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, according to a study.

Conducted by the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation (TRCF), a national organisation working on tribal affairs, the study said the traditional and indigenous species of sheep, goats, horses and dogs, distinctive with nomadic Gujjars and Bakerwals, had gradually disappeared since 1968, when the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) introduced some foreign breeds in Jammu and Kashmir region.

''This was done to get maximum yield of wool and mutton,'' said the study released by TRCF national secretary Dr Javaid Rahi here.

It said that no genetic study had ever been conducted to preserve the characteristics of the livestock of the Gujjars and Bakerwals.

The study said the species of sheep -- Ghidord Phamphri, Punchi Bakerwali, Bani and Karnahi -- and that of goat -- Gurziya, Belori, Lamdi and Goodri -- had become extinct.

Similar was the case with horse breed of Yarkandi (Bakerwali), Nukra and Bharssi. The goat species of Kaghani, Lubdi and Kilan and Jaskardi and Kaliani breed of horse were on the verge of extinction.

The Gujjars and Bakerwals had lost all the rare species of sheep with the Australian Merino only being found their livestock.

It said Bhrokpa, Changpa and Dard tribes of Ladakh had been able to preserve their livestock in Shivalik area of the Himalayan belt.

''It is a worldwide phenomenon that the government institutions preserve rare species as has been done in Australia, Canada, US, UK, Russia and Brazil. But, this has not been the case in India. In some Himalayan areas, certain foreign breeds have almost failed to deliver the desired results,'' the study added.

It further said few rare species were found in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan and suggested that these should be brought to the Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking on the study, Dr Rahi said it was unfortunate that while introducing cross breeds the planners had not given a thought to preserving the indigenous species.

''Majority of Gujjars and Bakerwals are not happy with cross breeding of their livestock and want to switch back to traditional breeds, but such species do not exist anywhere in the Himalayan belt of India,'' he added.

Dr Rahi appealed to the State Government to save the existing rare livestock species of Gujjars and Bakerwals and demanded that a special team should be constituted for taking steps in this regard.


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