SUSTAINABLE FARMING FOR FOOD AND HEALTH

Body Condition Score (BCS) in Camel~ A tool for assessment of Adaptation

Assessing adaptation of camel to a specific ecosystem by the body condition scoring is a new idea. This idea/theme was introduced by the author during Ph.D. work in the Suleiman mountainous region of Balochistan. A number of 60 camels of the same age, sex (all female), and physiological status and body condition score were selected from each breed (Kohi and Pahwal or Gaddai) for this study (total 180). This study was continued for 135 days. The animals were grazing freely in the same grazing area. The major feedstuffs were trees and bushes, i.e. Acacia, Olivia, caragana spp, haloxyllon etc. No extra feed was offered to the camels of the study.

Kohi camel with BCS 3
  1. Body condition scores 1. Weakest animal.
  2. Body condition scores 2. Weak animal
  3. Body condition scores 3. Fair animal
  4. Body condition scores 4. Good animal
  5. Body condition scores 5. Excellent animal

The BCS was assessed at the last week of the study period. BCS was done by the excellent breeders of both breeds and the author. The majority of the of Kohi breed remained in the good body condition scoring (3-5) while Pahwal lowered to the weaker BCS (2-3) and lost weight gradually with the period of time in that specific period. It was revealed that Kohi camel is highly adapted to the mountainous ecology of Suleiman mountains.

Kohi camel with medium (3) BCS

This concept (using BCS to assess the drought tolerance ability of camel) is an initiative and idea of the author which can be polished further and may be used for the selection of highly adapted breeds of rangeland for conservation and further propagation.

This camel (sick) picture is given only to tell the lowest BCS (1)
Kohi camel with BCS 2

An example of the best fit camel from Thar Desert

In 2008, a team of scientists from UAF including me visited many livestock ecosystems of Balochistan and Sindh. In Thar region of Sindh ‘NAGAR PAKAR’ I participated in camels’ festival. I found very unique and beauty breed of camels ‘Deshi or Thari’ which impressed me very much because of health and beauty. They are very good camels for riding, racing and even milk. I used the picture of Deshi camel as featured picture of this article.

An all purpose camel breed of Thar desert. Native Thar desert’s camel known as Deshi camel.
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