The Milking Camels of Australia~World Camel’s Day Gift


The beautiful series of World Camel’s Day (WCD) is continue. The recent updates are received by Hannah Purss from Australia. She is telling about her camel journey and the milking camels of Australia. Here is her article in the ensuing lines.

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The disciplined Camel walking on grass instead of sand

“I was first introduced to camels when I was working in Central Australia, a hot, semi-arid region of the country. As I learnt about the valuable contribution camels made to Australia’s development, and the current wild population in the Australian deserts I realized what a valuable, yet wasted, commodity we have here. Dromedary camels do not roam free in other countries as they do in Australia, we are the only country that is yet to recognize their value. Here in Australia, wild camels are said to be in numbers above 300,000.  Most farmers and landholders that have access to wild camel populations view them as a pest, are uninterested in camels or are unsure of how to work with them.

 In 2014, Evan Casey and I founded Australian Camel Solutions Pty Ltd, a company that is based on solid and progressive camel handling and the development of the camel industry in Australia.

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The safe and friendly transportation of camels

 In Queensland, in Australia’s east, we have co-founded The Australian Wild Camel Corporation Pty Limited, a commercial scale camel dairy company. Being on the east coast of Australia means we can be closely linked with universities, academics and various dairy, camelid and veterinary experts.

We have been in operation for around six months now. We are having the most remarkable experience putting our theories and plans into practice, and as a team we are learning more each day.

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Hannah Caring her camels

Currently we are milking over 50 camels and as we move into Australian calving season, we hope to increase that number rapidly. The training program we use to bring camels from completely wild and out of the desert into our milking herd was developed by our company, Australian Camel Solutions, and is based on body language and the communication methods we’ve picked up from the camels themselves. In our dairy training program, we don’t use ropes or restraints on the animals which has helped us tremendously in the speed we can train them, and in keeping their stress levels down during the process. On farm, we have a vibrant, young team and it is especially exciting for me to see them growing in their camel handling skills and their passion for the industry. At TAWCC, we are passionate about fostering a supportive and progressive camel community.

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The Camel Milk

We have been conducting lots of product development – from fresh milk, to ice cream, yogurt and more. Our milk is currently being used to produce our own brand of camel milk soaps and skincare products. The skincare products are currently available only in selected stores, but very soon we will have them more readily available in Australian stores, online and hopefully around the world.

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The Happy, Healthy, Alert and Beautiful Camels of Australia

A very Happy World Camel Day from Australia!”

Hannah Purss, Australian Camel Solutions PTY LTD

www.camelmilkaus.com

The Nature Engineered Distinctive DNA of Camel to Beat the Challenge of Climate Change


Thank God, my dream came true as; specially engineered camel DNA (revealed in a recent study) makes this unique animal a solution to climate change and other challenges. The study ( the author was part of it) published in PNAS with full access here. a day before. The authors have ensured that the remarkable story over its long and celebrated history stands out like a scientific beacon. Without the camel, Arabian trade, medieval conquests, and recent communication routes would all have collapsed, changing the course of events for human civilizations as well as that incredible diversity among the camel gene pools of Asia, Africa, and even Australia.

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A unique and pioneering study of the ancient and modern DNA of the ‘ship of the desert’ the single-humped camel or dromedary has shed new light on how its use by human societies has shaped its genetic diversity. DNA Sequencing Reveals Human Desert Migrations Shaped Camel Genetics.

Dromedaries have been fundamental to the development of human societies, providing food and transport in desert countries, for over 3,000 years. The dromedary continues to be vital for livelihood, food, and recreations where other species would not survive. In the current context of climate change and advancing desert landscapes, the animal’s importance is increasing and there is new interest in the biology and reproduction of the species.

In my opinion “genetic mixing and re-mixing engineered special DNA (camels) as; by constantly mixing the populations, the camels are now very genetically diverse which makes them more resilient to climate change. As predicted by the climate scientists, the mercury will go up with the passage of years, the camels will be the best choice among the others for food security and sustainable farming systems.

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The study suggests that the wild camels, which are now extinct, periodically helped restock domesticated populations. Unlike many other domesticated animals, modern camel populations have maintained their ancestral genetic diversity, potentially enabling adaptation to future changes in terrain and climate, according to the authors.

For more general articles the links are given in the ensuing lines. The links are referred in the article also.

References;

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36252141

http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2016/05/human-migrations-shaped-camel-dna

http://www.sciencecodex.com/origin_of_dromedary_domestication_discovered-182056

How trade routes forever changed the dromedary camel’s genetic makeup

http://nhv.us/content/16056061-first-domestication-dromedaries-took-place-southeast-arabian

http://www.earthtimes.org/conservation/diversity-camels-conserved-3000-years/2938/

http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/june-2013/article/ancient-trading-networks-and-arabian-camel-diversity

A Distinctive Instrument Guaranteeing Livelihood in the Thirstiest Lands of the Ecosphere


Forgotten and neglected but the still inevitable tool of small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists in driest lands of the world, ensure livelihood and food availability. Among the camel keepers, more than 70% are small scaled keepers, owning 5-15 camels. Amid small farmers, the camel is used for very diverse operations; water harvesting, agricultural operations and also producing milk. While for the pastoralists, it ensures their movement in hard terrains during the harsh climatic conditions. DSC01460The camel ensures food endowment (milk) in conditions when other livestock species struggle for their survival. Camel! A One in All Creatures. Camels have been playing the pivotal role as a multipurpose animal, especially in the extreme drylands of the world. The camel is a forgotten combatant, who played the role even in the development of modern countries like Australia1. With the onset of the automobile revolution, the Dark Age (1960-2000) of camel happened, the beast was almost neglected and rejected as an untuneful farm animal. Ultimately, the camel converted from a caravan animal to an animal of small scaled livestock keepers and pastoralists (nomads, Bedouins, Kochis, etc.). 11390372_10153419389789559_7790676575313165751_nThey had been using camels for very diverse goals; accessibility, food provision, cultural and heritage desires etc. Unfortunately, the camel, the main one being the lack of awareness about this unique species.  Due to prevailing droughts, climate change, interesting results from camel science, the camel has gained much attention again since the year, 2000.

The recent studies have shown that the camel is an immense candidate which can meet the milk requirements of the pastoral people and as well as other population if managed, bred and fed properly. Some planned and integrated efforts are required in camel concentration areas to undertake research and auxiliary developments on this species and its allied disciplines.10896985_628512283927255_2873814486121034170_n

The time has come to know and exploit the true potential of the camel and to find the ways to sustain this old industry for the cause of the conservation of important animal genetic resource and transform it in a modern entrepreneur in the near future. The forum Camels4Life2 is organizing communities, scientists, activists, development workers and policy makers to use the camel in sustainable development agenda and advocate for its promotion and sustainable development in future.

References;

  1. History Of Camels In Australia; http://camelfarm.com/camels/camels_australia.html
  2. Al Ain doctor sees potential in camels beyond their milk; http://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/al-ain-doctor-sees-potential-in-camels-beyond-their-milk

Turning Again to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future


Turning Again to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

The catastrophes of climate change along with growing desertification consequence in the adoption of new strategies. The industrialized nation’s choice is mitigation strategy while among the native livestock keepers’ adaptation is the best tactic. Unfortunately, the so called policy makers (at all levels) are not that much in tune (with the above-said challenges) as the rural indigenous people of the bush are. These sensible livestock keepers know how to materialize livestock agriculture sustainably as; to satisfy versatile requirements of the owner/community and ensure its own life whereas depending on available natural resources.20151009_172921

The so pseudo green revolution (1960s era) was actually a trick of the capitalism to provide an immature solution (factory farming) to increase productivity but contrary it resulted in erosion/dilution of the precious native animal genetic resources and depletion of soil fertility. Coincidentally, nature reacts after each specific period and shed all the unkind things attach to it; intensive farming is failing in many ways.

A Case Study from Balochistan

In months of September, October (2015), I visited the rural areas of northeastern Balochistan. I sniffed a very positive change, the wise decision of the community elders; turning back to the native cattle. Many small scale farmers have adopted the native cattle (Kohe-Suleimani/Lohani/Kakari®) to better utilize free available natural resources and ensure sustainable production. The lovely Kakari cows mostly depend on the bushes, especially Sarghasie (abundantly available bush in the region) which is otherwise useless. Some wise farmers narrated “native cow is the best weed regulator” as she restricts the weeds/bushes to creep in the cropping lands. She is the best converter of bushes into food item and high fibrous manure.20151012_101537

The dung produced by the cattle provides softy and fluffy texture to the soil, making it apt for cropping. The cow manure is highly preferred for wheat, tomato, cauliflower, almond, and apricot agriculture. Sometimes, the dung is used in construction material is added to the mud plaster. The native cow is unique as; grows well, catches high consumer demand, resistant to health ailments/parasites and easy management making it the best choice as a farm animal.20151009_170928

Nevertheless producing little milk (2-3 liter per day with a shorter lactation length), idolized as best in the conversion of poor quality roughages into precious milk and meat. The yummy, creamy and appetizing milk makes it super cow than the exotic one. Its milk is esteemed as beautifying skin and treats febrile conditions. The special taste of ghuarri (a Pashtu word used for ghee) produced from its milk is highly anticipated. Pashtuns’ folk poetry is rich with the appreciation of the precious ghuarri. The surplus ghuarri is sold by the women and the income purely owned by them. Now a day, the prices for ghuarri is too high and attracts bulky Pakistani rupees. Hey! The native genes empower the women, they told.20151009_174051

The steer catches reasonable prices at the occasion of Eid-Adha, highly preferred by locals and suit well to a common customer. A slightly pinkish color beef (not too red) has the special desire and high organoleptic scoring. It is approachable selection for the low-income groups during the Eid-Adha and other religious/cultural occasions. A native keeper whispered that it takes the little time to cook, making a good selection for women.20151011_161325

The strategies adopted by the native/indigenous people are highly useful to guarantee sustainable farming systems under climate change scenario. Their knowledge is based on centuries’ long experience and evolved with the natural phenomena; making it the treasurable heritage of humanity. Unfortunately, their contents are never asked while making policy regarding the livestock agriculture both at national and international levels. It would be so great if native livestock keepers are involved in policy making to ensure sustainable and ecological farming.20151011_161444

For more details, please go to the links below;

Click to access 091220_potential_of_livestock_breeds_of_Baluchistan_final_.pdf

Click to access CGRFA_LIFE_sideevent_kakar.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/216121092_Prospects_of_Livestock_Production_in_Balochistan

®Native livestock Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture are very diverse in many ways, having different names in different regions, many colors, sizes, and purposes etc.

The Camels’ Terminologies Need to be Revised


The world terminology in Wikipedia is written as;

Terminology is the study of terms and their use. Terms are words and compound words or multi-word expressions that in specific contexts are given specific meanings.

The camel terminology is mainly derived from a cow/cattle production system in English, which is a wrong approach. I’m giving you food for thought to reconsider and re-establish camel’s terminology. As the camel was domesticated, evolved, and managed for centuries in Arabian Peninsula, the best terminology will be the one used in that region.roadtrip0501_8_base

As an example, I hereby give some terms which I learned here in the region and some are found in the literature. I’m lucky to live in the specific area (Hilli Alqatara in Alain) where the camel was domesticated. I can say, I’m living in the cradle of camels’ domestication. The Ice Cream Species of Plants for the Camel and Goat, the camel ice cream food is found in the region. Al Ain National Museum Explores the History of Domesticated Camels. The analysis of bones found on dig sites across the country indicated that camels were tamed and domesticated no earlier than 1000 BC. 

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Raigi camel in Kakar Khurasan region of Northern Balochistan
No.Status of the camelName in Original habitat
1Camel is not a cow… the best word for milking camelNAQA
2Camel male kid is not a calf BUT aQaood
3Camel Female calf is not a heifer but aBakra
4The breeding male is not a bull but aBaeer
Different terminologies for the camels of different ages and sex

Way forward

This area of camel husbandry really needs revision for the establishment of appropriate terminology. It needs to reestablish the terminology with the participation of more wise minds. I’m really looking forward to hearing in this regard.

Reference;

http://www.almaany.com/en/dict/ar-en/camel/