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 Needs to be Re-established

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 a 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 living 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 icecream 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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  1. Camel is not a cow… the best word for milking camel is……  NAQA
  2. Camel male kid is not a calf but a …………………                          Gaood
  3. Camel Female calf is not a heifer but a………………………………….Bakra
  4. The breeding male is not a bull but a…           ………………………..Baeer    

I am really looking forward to discussion, criticism, fortification, addition to this precious topic.

Reference;

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

Strange Animal with Special Traits ~ My Camel

Camel is integral part of the deserted ecosystems and blessed with special traits/characteristics which give strange potential to this unique animal. In Quran camel is called as strange animal. Here are some strange potential of camels in the ensuing lines.

Protected from Sand

The wide, flat, sponge like cushioned and hoof-less feet can walk across the sand without sinking in.
The long double layered eyelashes protect its eyes from blowing sand and dust. The tear glands continually rinse the eye surface and a thin translucent inner eyelid can be closed to protect their eyes while allowing them to see even in the sand storm.
They can close off their nostrils completely in addition to the thick hairs in the nostrils that help filter the air. Their small ears are also covered with hair inside and out to filter blowing sand and dust.

camel for blog

Desert Ecosystem is Hot and Camel is Heat Protected

The narrow body presents a small surface area for the sun to hit when directly exposed. Camel also incline to turn into the sun when they sit so as to present the smallest possible surface area to the sun. Also camels need little feed and usually avoid eating during the hottest times so as not to generate heat, instead they rest. Camels will sit together in groups in the hotter time of the day when their body’s temperature is lower than that of the air, thus insulating them from the heat. Heavy coarse hair insulates the camel’s back from the heat of the sun. Thin skin on the belly with blood vessels close to the surface help cool the animal.
The strange body feature of camel enable to cope with extreme changes in body temperature. Camels are an average of 2 meters tall at the shoulder and their long legs keep the body away from the heat of the sand. Fifth pad (Chest Pad) and Knees Pad (leathery callus-like pads) grow on the chest and knees of the camel empower him to sit on hot desert sand without direct connection of the skin. The urine splatters the rear legs when it falls also cooling the creature.

Camel Withstands Dehydration

Camels store water for days or weeks and their system is so efficient that the dung is almost completely dry and the urine a thick concentrate. In the cool season a camel can go for two months without drinking; in the hot season they need to drink every week. The thick hair also prevents evaporation of sweat. They can survive dehydration of up to 25 to 30 % of their body’s weight (most mammals will die at 12-15% loss) When thirsty a camel can consume 100 liters (~25 gallons) in 10 minutes.

The fatty tissue of their hump is also a great energy reserve which permits them to do the long arduous treks across desert areas and the bye-product of fat utilization in energy is water. Fats are more water than water.

The Donkey~ Also a Good Riding Animal

The Donkey~ Also a Good Riding Animal

This donkey belong to Shingharri breed from Daman area of Kohe Suleiman. This breed of donkey is unique of its kind. Very well adapted to mountainous ecosystem and carry up to 120 Kg for more than 25 KM. Also a good riding and docile animal.

The Donkey~ Also a Good Riding Animal

This donkey belong to Shingharri breed from Daman area of Kohe Suleiman. This breed of donkey is unique of its kind. Very well adapted to mountainous ecosystem and carry up to 120 Kg for more than 25 KM. Also a good riding and docile animal.

BhagNarri Steer with 3 Years of Age

BhagNarri Steer with 3 Years of Age

Mehrgarrh is one of the oldest civilization in south and central Asia. The seals and statues of bulls very resemble to BhagNarri were excavated. Very historical and ancient breed of cattle, with promising growth rate, hardy and well adapted animal. This cattle rely on local bushes and vegetation. One of the unique character of this breed is its changing colour with the weather, i.e. it become darker in winter and fresh white in summer season.

BhagNarri Steer with 3 Years of Age

Mehrgarrh is one of the oldest civilization in south and central Asia. The seals and statues of bulls very resemble to BhagNarri were excavated. Very historical and ancient breed of cattle, with promising growth rate, hardy and well adapted animal. This cattle rely on local bushes and vegetation. One of the unique character of this breed is its changing colour with the weather, i.e. it become darker in winter and fresh white in summer season.

Camel, an incredible creature in difficult environment

English: Dromedary camel in outback Australia,...
English: Dromedary camel in outback Australia, near Silverton, NSW. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Camel, an incredible creature in difficult environment.

WORLD DONKEY DAY

WORLD DONKEY DAY

World donkey day was celebrated worldwide.

 

Henderson and the donkey
Henderson and the donkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WORLD DONKEY DAY

World donkey day was celebrated worldwide.

Balochi Horse of Balochistan

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Balochi horse is unique, highly efficient in the dry mountainous region of Balochistan. Th e horse is equally fit for plain lands, desert and mountainous ecosystems.

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Phenotypically very close to the African horse.  The horse has compact body size and having wide and strong canon bones. The horse is alert and smart. The horse is the part of rich culture of Baloch tribes. There are many colors of Balochi horse.

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The Baluchi horse is usually in many colors, i.e. white, chestnut, red, gray and black etc. They are light in build (but compact) and generally have a fine head, long neck, strong but fine legs and ears that curve in so the tips of the ears touch. 

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Balochi horse is use for different purposes in different regions of Balochistan and adjoining areas. In some areas it is use for riding/racing while in other areas for carting, drafting  etc.

 

This horse is integral part of Baloch culture and heritage. The breed has special traits like resistant to water and feed scarcity and resistant to some diseases.

I’m sure that the breed will continue its role in the days to come though the automobile revolution has affected its role as riding/carting animal.Balochis Horse.jpg

 

 

Marrecha camel of Cholistan Desert

Marrecha camel is one of the precious camel genetic resources of Cholistan desert. Cholistan desert is the offshoot of great Indian desert. After the division of India, half of the great Indian desert came in Pakistan which was further split into two halves, i.e. Thar/Tharparker and the Cholistan.

Figure-1-Map-of-the-study-area-in-the-Cholistan-desert-Pakistan-with-the-homesteads-of
The map of the Cholistan

 

Marrecha camel is also known as the Bekaneri camel in Rajasthan India. This breed of camel is well adapted to the sandy desert and is well fit for working in desert ecosystems. These animals are fine, fast and gracious looking and are called the riding camels. It is believed that these have been developed from Tharparker camels having their habitat in Sindh province of Pakistan (Rathore, 1986). It is estimated that these animals can travel 100 to 125 Km a day at a high speed of 20-25 Km per hour. This breed is also used for load carrying.

Pakistan, Punjab province, Cholistan desert, Derawar, At the Cholistan desert near by Derawar Fort
The Beautiful Marrecha Camel Dancing in the Desert Festival

 

These animals are lightly built, medium sized with the medium head which is carried on a lean long beautifully curved neck. The mouth is small with tight lips, ears are small and pointed, with prominent round bright eyes, and narrow muzzle. The legs are strong, fine and well shaped. The coat color varies from light sandy to dark blackish. Female she-camel can give milk up to 10 liters a dayCAMEL REARING IN CHOLISTAN DESERT OF PAKISTAN.

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Unfortunately, the Marrecha camels’ habitat is under threat and the Marrecha camel culture is sinking. A Beautiful Camel Heritage is Sinking

Kohi camel of Musakhel~ Balochistan Pakistan

Kohi camel of Musakhel~ Balochistan Pakistan

Kohi camel is highly adapted to the mountainous ecology of Suleiman Mountainous Region. The breeds is highly diversified and there are many shades and colours. Some colours and phenotypic characters works as genetic markers and the pastoral people are well known of them

Kohi camel of Musakhel~ Balochistan Pakistan

Kohi camel is highly adapted to the mountainous ecology of Suleiman Mountainous Region. The breeds is highly diversified and there are many shades and colours. Some colours and phenotypic characters works as genetic markers and the pastoral people are well known of them

Camel and other Livestock~ A tool for Healthier Food and Rural Development in Cholistan Desert

Summary

Falling in southern Punjab, Cholistan is one of the largest deserts of the country and part of the great Indian Desert. The Cholistan comprises three districtsBahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, and Rahim Yar Khan. The total area of Cholistan is 66,55,360 acres. The largest area of Cholistan is present inBahawalpurwhich is 40,28,217 acres. The temperature ranges in the Cholistan from 6 to 50°C. The length of Cholistan is 480 km and width ranges from 32 to 192 km. The human population of Cholistan is 1,55,000 whereas the livestock population is 13,18,000. Table 1 shows some more facts are summarized below.

Table 1. A glance at some basic facts about the Cholistan

S #

Particulars

Units

1Area16,000 km2
2Area spread (kms)480 x 32-192
3Area in acres66,55,360
4

Bahawalnagar

10,11,200 acres
5

Bahawalpur

40,28,217 acres
6

R Y Khan

16,15,965 acres
7Lesser Cholistan33,00,000 acres
8Greater Cholistan17,55,360 acres
9Human Population

1,55,000 heads

10Livestock population

13,18,000 heads

11Cholistani Cattle

6,67,000 heads

12Camel

80,000 heads

13Goats

2,20,000 heads

14Sheep

3,51,000 heads

15Temperature range

6-50ºC

16Groundwater

Mostly brackish

17Latitude

28.25

18Latitude (DMS)

28º 15’0 N

19Longitude

70.75

20Longitude (DMS)

70º 45’0 E

The groundwater for these populations is mostly brackish. The inhabitants of Cholistan are called Rohi and the main tribe of the camel herders is Marrecha. The camel that belongs to Marrecha tribe is known as Marrecha breed. The other tribe which usually resides on the peripheries of the desert adjoining to irrigated lands is called Malgade. Malgade usually keeps the Brela camel. The Cholistan is the homeland of many precious animal genetic resources i.e. camel, cattle, sheep, and goat. Most of the Cholistan is covered with the wide range of nutritious and drought tolerant species of vegetation. Deep in desert, the camel mostly rely on Khar, Lana, Jand, and Kareer, while in the peripheries mostly kikar is available along the water courses and roadside (Table 2).

Table 2 showing the vegetation available for the camel in Cholistan desert

Trees

Bushes

Local NameBotanical NameLocal NameBotanical Name
KareerCapparis aphyllaKharSuaeda fruticosa
JandProsopis cinerariaLanaHaloxylon salincornicum
KikarAcacia nilotica LaniSalsola foetida
MallahZizyphus nummularia
The crucial part of the desert ecosystems. This tree works as soil conservation and sand dunes fixation.

 Cholistan Development Activities

 The water sources available in the desert are comprised of Toba system and water supply provided by the Cholistan Development Authority and that of PCRWR. Toba is a pond, where rainwater is collected and stored after rains and camels were gathered for drinking before stating their browsing of the day. This water used by all the inhabitants of desert until it dries up. Here are some famous tobas of the desert.

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A Toba in Cholistan, the place of meeting livestock and the pastoralists. A social hub in the desert.
  1. Kala Pahar
  2. Thandi Khoi
  3. Toba Meer Gargh Fort
  4. Muttanwali
  5. Toba Moaj Gargh
  6. Kheer Sar
  7. Haiderwali
  8. Channan Peer and
  9. Ghurkan Rest House.
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Butchi sheep of Cholistan

Animal Genetic Resources in the Living Desert of Cholistan (Rohi)

Cattle

Cholistani cattle is the best animal in habitats like the Cholistan and a source of income for pastoral people. This breed is medium size, well-developed udder and color range from red and black spotted with white background. Some species are purely red. Cholistani cattle possess well-developed hanging dewlap. The population of Cholistani cattle is 6,67,000 which is the maximum among Livestock population. Milk production potential of these animals is 8-10 liter per day in the desert area and lactation length is the 8-9 month. But install feeding management 18-20 liter per day with 7-8 month lactation length.

CATTLE
Cholistani Cattle Bull

The maximum milk record is 29 liter per day at Jugaitpeer Farm. Despite the problems faced like lack of proper feeding pattern, poor ranges, long drought, lack of concentrate feed and water and low prices in the inner Cholistan, these perform well.

Sheep & Goat

 There are three sheep breeds of sheep viz; Sipli (northern periphery of Cholistan), Buchi (in a central part of the desert) and Kadali (in the rear Cholistan or nearby R Y Khan Distt). Very common breed of goat is the local hairy goat.

The population of sheep is 3,51,000 while goat is 2,20,00 heads in Cholistan desert. There are two seasons of shearing one is spring and other is autumn shearing. The average wool production of Ram and Ewes is 5-6 kg in spring shearing and 3-5 kg in autumn shearing. The main purpose of farming of sheep breed is wool production. The wool price of these breeds is Rs 25/- per shearing but it has no future scope. Lots of wool stays in the desert, which is lying there at the mercy of natural vagaries. We suggest that L&DD Dept and CDA should do something collectively to bring this wool to some use. Wool Lab atBahawalpurcan also plays its role.

Camel Breeds

There are two types of camel breeds of Cholistan, one is Marrecha and second one is Brela. The camel population is almost 70,000 heads. About sixty (60%) population is Marrecha which is a beautiful animal and used for dancing purpose. While 40% population is of Brela which is a milking animal and maximum milk record of this breed is 22 liter. The milking season of Brela is from October to March.

Marrecha

The average herd size of the Marrecha camel is 37. The majority are female with 20-25 lactating camels. The color ranges from blackish brown to light brown while the majority is fawn. Marrecha has long thin neck, long legs, long eyelashes, hair on the ears & neck with medium head and pointed muzzles. The rabbit-like ears are the salient feature of this breed. The top priority of Marrecha herders is to produce drought camels for the transportation of their families in the desert. As Marrecha is highly demanded its racing ability and beauty, the herders stress on its beauty trait also.

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Fig. Animal Genetic Resource~ Marrecha camel of Cholistan

This breed is mainly used for the transportation and riding in the desert. The male is trained for many events and riding in the desert ecology. There is high demand for Marrecha camel by the race hobbyist in local market andMiddle East. The Marrecha camel is liked by the hobbyists and the carters of the cities and produces milk in harsh conditions with high temperature and scarcity of feed & water. This characteristic of Marrecha camel enabling its’ herders to live in deep and use the camel milk as food security. As Marrecha camel found in the deep desert, therefore it is milked when the pastoral family needs it. They provide a good amount of milk to male calves for vigor and good health in future.

Types of male animals are sold at the age of 3-4 years at different times of the year. They sell it locally and at the famous camel fairs also. Channan Peer fair is one of the famous destinations of the male Marrecha animals. The average price is almost Rs. 50,000/- to 70,000/- but some animals may attain a price of  Rs 4-5 lacs according to its beauty, attraction, and taste of the buyer.

Brela

The average herd size of the Brela camel is 26, with the majority of the female. The lactating camel ranges from 23-27% of the herd but depends upon the status of the year (dry or wet). The color ranges from blackish brown to light brown while the majority is deep brown, sometimes white specimen are also found. Brela is one of the massive breed of the country with the thick neck, wide chest, muscular legs and massive head. The hanging lip is one of the salient features of the breed. Brela camel is mainly raised for milk and male animals are sold for meat purpose. This is one of the high milk producing animal and produces up to 22 liters per day. The docility of the breed stands as its special trait. Any stranger can milk it any time of the day. It is also easy in adaptation in any kind of ecosystem, which is a tool, which can be used in the areas for milk production where camel had never been raised.

Brela

Fig. Brela camel Breed

The Brela camel originates from the ThaldesertofPakistan. Thal desert is already squeezed and remained only 32%. The rest of Thal desert is irrigated and brought under canal irrigation. The people replaced from that area starred a new strategy of camel production. They migrate from Thal to the Cholistan in August and stay here for 5 months and go back to Thal and their irrigated areas. They move along the road and railway tracks and their camel browse on vegetation available and whenever they find open areas, the aftermath of the crops, or labor the nearby fields, they stay there for a limited time. They also stay near the peripheries of the cities to sell camel milk, which usually is mixed in buffalo milk by the middleman and sold in the cities. They know the cultural events of their migratory routes and hence they participate in the melas (fairs) to sell their male animals and milk. They had adopted a very good strategy to keep the camel production system viable. Brela camel is milked very regularly twice the time. The women usually sell the milk and the earning usually goes to them. As Brela is good milk producer with sustainable lactation yield is resulting from a good source of earning in the form of milk for its herders especially the woman folks.

 Problems and Constraints

 Squeezing lands is one of the major problems for camel production systems in Pakistan, especially Cholistan desert. The desert had already brought under cultivation and the land allotted in the majority of the cases to the influential people of the country. The Brela camel herders and other livestock keepers were replaced and never compensated for their losses. Because of no representation in the policy-making organizations and legislation. they couldn’t raise their voice against this cruelty. The small ruminants and cattle breeders already left the occupation of livestock husbandry but the camel herders adapted a new way while moving long routes with their camel and traveling up to the desert of Cholistan. The Cholistan is also squeezing in size, the land grabbing is one of the important issues and the grazing lands are decreasing every day.

Image

Fig. The dancer~ Marrecha camel

The Marrecha camel herders usually live and migrate with their camels in the deep desert according to the availability of foliage and accessibility of water. In such a remote and far-flung area, there is no market for camel products i.e. milk and wool, etc. The Brela camel herders take benefits of the roads in the peripheries for their milk sale. No doubt the male camel of Marrecha breed catch good prices in the fairs mostly buys for racing/riding and carting, etc. The female of the Brela catches very high price because of the interest of the Gulf countries in the breed for its appreciable milk production. But this scenario is not good for the sustainability of this breed. The Brela camel herders sell their precious animals to buy a piece of land for settlement in the peripheries of Cholistan, as they fear to lose the Cholistan because of land grabbing Mafia. This is a bad state of the situation for the high yielding camel like Brela.

Suggestions

a. For development workers and public institutions value, addition to camel products will be a great idea to eradicate extreme poverty in such a plunged area and enhance rural livelihood.

b. From scientist’s perspectives, we suggest that Camel is the animal of the future and can be an important tool to combat the new challenges like drought, climate changes, global warming and creeping desertification, emerging diseases and competition for feed & water resources.

c.Development of the camel race industry can bring the smile to the Rohi people as it may attract billion of Rupees in the area. Marrecha camel of the region is the best choice in this regards.

This will require a holistic approach on all facets of camel production by all players on the ground with the help of Rohi people to make a difference in their lives and also convert this future food basket into safe and health promising camel milk. How early it can be done, will depend on how serious we are to bring this dream into reality.

Bybrik or Marriwal

Habitat: Mostly found in Marri and Bugti hills of the province. Also found in the Barkhan and part of Sibi, Loralai and Musakhail districts. The nucleus areas are Duki, Kohlu, Chamalang, Hosrri, Girsani, Lakhi Putth, Khar Chah, Rarra sham and Deddar.

Phenotypic characteristics: The breed is medium in size and need lesser amount of feed. The sheep color is usually white with black muzzle and ears. Some specimens with spotted body, black head are also found, mainly in Barkhan and Musakhail areas. The tribes of the breed are mainly Marri, Bugti, Masurri, Kethran, Buzdar, Syed and Musakhail.

Vegetation: The vegetation liked by the breed is Sargari, Barwazi, Gandali, Murgha, Pah, Spanda and Ghalmai.

Population: Population of the breed is almost 2.7 million and the trend is increasing.

Special Traits:

  • Hardy to drought
  • The tail is smaller, compact and less fatty,  making it easy to climb on mountain
  • Hardy to water scarcity and weather intensities
  • High meat preference for barbeque
  • Very high demand in Iran and Gulf because of taste and marbling

Economic Importance: The breed is mainly raise for lamb production. The breed has very high economic returns by selling male animals at the age of 6-8 months. The animal has high trader preference and mostly reaches to the market of Iran and Middle East. The crop reaches early in the market because of the early breeding season like Musakhaili sheep. The milk of the breed is not use for family needs and allow to the lambs. The wool has no higher economic importance and is mainly send to the market of Punjab province and is usually use in the carpet industry.