History of World Camel Day (22 June)


Camel is a gift of nature, gifted to the drought stricken people of the planet earth. The human wisdom decided to domesticate the animal which can cope with the harsh and hostile ecosystems emerged with the onset of the natural climate change thousands of years before. The wisdom worked very well and selected the incredible camel for this task. The main and the important task given to the camel was to provide food in the conditions where other type of livestock had difficulties to sustain.

Camel love the vegetation of the desert. The plant icecream species for camel Tubulis

Camel is therefore considered to be the only livestock domesticated for the milk production. Though, later on the burden on camel was increased and many more tasks were given to the camel, like transportation, racing, meat, and others, etc. Luckily, camel is turning back to its original tasks, mainly because of its resilience & sustainability (sustainable milk yield) and the awareness about healing powers of camel milk.

Conceptulization of the Camel Association of Pakistan (CAP) in 2008

When I (Dr. Raziq) finished my PhD research work and started dissertation write up, many ideas emerged and I deeply realized that though the camel is very important animal but there is very less support and appreciation for the camel and camel keepers both at country and international levels. So, I started conceptualization of a struggle to bring the camel in the notice of policy makers at all levels. The idea of CAP was to take the first but the important step to highlight the importance of camel at the country levels. Unfortunately, there was very less or negligible level of support for the camel and its keepers.

That time, I had a job in the dept. of Livestock and Dairy Development (L&DD Dept.) Balochistan but on study leave for PhD in the dept. of Livestock Management, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (LMUAF), Pakistan. I presented the idea of a Camel Association in Pakistan to my mentor/supervisor Dr. Muhmmad Younas. Prof. Dr. Muhmmad Younas was Chairman of (LMUAF). He agreed with the idea and supported me at all levels, I once again thank to him.

In the month of September, 2008, I had consecutive meetings with Mr. Abdul Salam Baloch (Secretary government of Balochistan, Livestock and Dairy Development Department (L&DD Dept) and discussed about the role of native livestock breeds, especially the camel. As camel is one of the most important livestock in the province Balochistan and playing a pivotal role in the livelihood of the people, so it was not hard to convince him on supporting a camel organization at provincial and country level.

In the meanwhile, other colleagues and friends came forward and supported the idea of a country organization on camel. Dr. Zia ur Rehman Kakar was a great support and the most active person in the process of the Camel Association of Pakistan (CAP). Dr. Zia Kakar is currently working on his PhD dissertation in the university of vet and animal sciences (UVAS) Lahore. Ultimately, in December 2008, we, laid the foundation of the CAP in the LM departement UAF.

Further details of the CAP will be shared in another article.

WCD 22 June

As I mentioned before, while compiling my PhD work, reading piles of books and articles about the camels and camel related aspects, I realized that there must be some day, mentioning and realizing the importance of the incredible camel.

In 2009, the author conceptualized the idea of a world camel day (WCD) to aware the people about the importance of camel as a food security agent in climate change scenario.

Why we chose the date of 22nd June?

In its original habitat, 21 June is the longest and hottest day of the year, in the northern hemisphere of the globe. Camel sustains its abilities of production in such harsh and hostile environments and adapts to the soaring heat and long thirsty day. We should have chosen the 21st of June as world camel day but it is specified for the world father day. So, we decided to skip 21 and selected 22nd June as the world camel day. The difference in day length is only 2 seconds between the 21st and 22nd June. For further reading about the history of the world camel day, please go to the link below.http://camel4all.info/index.php/2020/06/21/why-a-world-camel-day-on-22-june/

Camel is the most important livestock in the desert and drylands

We Start our Journey in 2009

From 2009 to 2012 WCD was celebrated in the province of Balochistan (the important habitat of camel, 50% share of the Pakistan’s 1 million population of camels). Slowly and gradually, we earned the support at country as well as global level.

Here, I must praise the role of the very important camel colleagues like Ilse Kohler Rollefson, Prof. Dr. Yagil (the late), Dr. Abdul Salam Abax (KSA), and many other colleagues. It is very hard to mention the names of all the people who supported me in this noble cause.

In 2013, we launched WCD facebook page and received appreciation and support from all over the world. The next year, in 2014 WCD started celebrating in the different corners of the globe. The same year, LMUAF under the supervision of Dr. Younas launched Dachi camel milk brand in the university and invited the famous camel lady Ilse Kohlor Rollefson to attend the WCD 2014 and inauguratethe Dachi milk.

Screen shot from the blog of Ilse Kohlor Rollefson.

In the comming years after 2014, the idea of WCD was taken up by many people and organizations and the details are very lengthy. I do not want to engage your for longer time, therefore, I’m hereby sharing some pictures about the WCD celebrated at global level.

The famous newspaper The National mentioned WCD 22 June, the important camel day in UAE. https://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/travel/world-camel-day-12-bizarre-facts-about-the-uae-s-beloved-beast-1.877476

On this world camel day 22 June, 2020 there are many evenets and one of the most important one is the Virtual University Symposium in Pakistan. https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eDA5mfYOQnmi8h18xFfksw

We hereby cardially invite you to join us in this important symposium and learn about the different aspects of camel from the world’s reknowned camel scientists and lovers.

The flyer of the WCD symposium.

22 June World Camel Day adaptation animal genetic resources Autism and camel milk Balochistan biodiversity camel Camelait camel association of Pakistan camel beauty camel manure compost Camel milk camel milk and natural health Camels4Life Camelus Bactrianu (Bactrian camel) climate change climate change adaptation desert desert ecosystem Desertpedia Donkey Dr Abdul Raziq Kakar drought Floral biodiversity of the Alain food security Healing with camel milk indigenous knowledge indigenous livestock breeds Jable Hafeeth Kohi camel livestock livestock breeds milk Natural Health Pakistan pastoralism Peoples' agriculture Raziq SAVES small scaled farming Society of Animal, Veterinary and Environmental Scientists (SAVES) sustainable The Camel Milk (CaM) world donkey day zygophylum qataranse

Marrecha Camel~An all purpose camel of Cholistan, Pakistan


Dancing camel

Dancing of the Marrecha Camel of Pakistan.

The Cholistan desert is part of the ancient Hakra River civilization, one of the oldest of the Aryan settlers in the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the largest deserts in Pakistan, inhabited by around 1.2 million Rohi pastoral people practicing mobile livestock husbandry. This production system is extremely important for food security and conservation of livestock and landscape.

The camel is one of the important animal genetic resources and about 80,000 are found in the desert. The main tribe with camel herds is Marrecha. The desert pastoralists also raise goats, sheep and cattle breeds. The major camel breed is Marrecha following by Brela. The precious camel genetic resources are under threat due to commercial agricultural practices, land grabbing and faulty development projects.IMG-20160730-WA0023.jpg

The policies come from the top and pastoral peoples do not participate in formulating strategies for development. Hence the projects are not supported by local livestock keepers and always result in failure. There is an urgent need to save this pastoral livestock system, especially the camel breeds. It is suggested that niche marketing, value addition, ecotourism and participation of pastoral people in development policies may help achieve this goal. Organization of the livestock keepers in the region can be an efficient tool to halt land grabbing.

For details, please click at the link below;

http://www.pastoralismjournal.com/content/1/1/3

International Camel Conference at Islamia University Bahawalpur Pakistan


The International Camel Conference (ICC) under the patronage of Camel Association of Pakistan and the Islamia University of Bahawalpur was organized in Baghdad campus of Islamia University (19-21 Dec 2013). Bahawalpur being the city of the great Thar desert and home of camel culture was the right choice for this event. Many scientists, research scholars, camel herders and students from different universities and institutions participated in this important event on the camel. Many animal scientists, students and camel herders from Balochistan province also participated.

Marrecha camel safari caravan passing nearby the Dirawarr Forte
Camel is the unique heritage of the region Cholistan

FAO Balochistan chapter sponsored a group of camel herders and L&DD officials to participate in the conference. The conference was very versatile of its nature, not only covered the camel science but provided a good opportunity to camel people to know about the camel culture of great Thar desert which is famously known as the Cholistan. The vice-chancellor of the IslamiUniversityty (Dr Iftikhar) was very kind and humble while providing all the best facilities and opportunities to the conference participants. Camel scientists from 7 different countries also participated.The Desert’s Livestock Species Have Tremendous Potential for Milk Produciton

Image

The scientists presented their work on camel culture, milk production potential, milk characteristics, camel breeds and breeding, diseases and economic opportunities etc. The local media covered the event in a very nice way and kept the country audience and viewers aware regarding the conference. At the end of the camel conference, the following recommendations were suggested.

  • To maintain camel genetic and production diversity with the involvement of the camel herders and policymakers
  • To maintain camel habitats, especially Cholistan desert intact and safe from land grabbing etc
  • The slogan of ‘DESERT SHOULD REMAIN THE DESERT‘ was given for Eco-conservation of Camels and ‘SAVE PASTROLISM
  • More interaction development among the camel people, camel scientists and policymakers should initiate
  • Research on camel diseases and other health issues should initiate and coordinate with the international bodies in this field
  • Publication of full-length articles of the abstracts received in ICC-2013 in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Industry Liaison for Value Addition of camel products
  • Enhanced collaboration with foreign camel researchers and institute

IMG_2082[1].jpgCamel conference was a great opportunity, except the bad weather with the heavy fog. At the end of the conference, the meeting of the CAP was organized and some decisions were made. The decisions of the CAP are given in the ensuing lines.

  • The foreign scientist (not more than 5) will be invited purely on merit basis to make it more worthwhile and fruitful
  • The meeting was held on 21st Dec at 8 pm
  • I suggested a seminar (with very specific title) and with very specific number of participants
  • The seminar will be in the month of Jan or Feb 2015, as the next ISOCARD is in June 2015 Almatay Kazakhstan
  • The venue of the meeting will be decided later but most probably, Karachi, Uthal, Quetta or Lahore
  • CAP member list will be compiled according to the registered members in 3 categories, i.e.
  1. category A. Scientist/Activist/NGOs
  2. Category B. Camel Herders
  3. Category C. Students
  • Next election will be held on the occasion of the Seminar in 2015
  • The CAP registration amount, other income and expenditure if any, will be compiled and will be present to the cabinet
  • A Skype/online consultative meeting of the willing CAP members or other scientists to highlight/fix and mention the priority areas on camel in Pakistan

I am very pleased now, as the importance of camel is being appreciated in Pakistan. In the climate change context and challenge of food security; camel is the best choice to accept these challenges.

Camel Milk Competition in Cholistan


Camel milk competition concluded last evening here in Cholistan desert (of Pakistan). It was quite interesting in many ways and I felt that at least I should share some of its salient features. It started on 12th October and concluded on 14th. Some 40 camels (locally called Dachis) contested and some owners had more than one. All animals were towards the end of their lactation. The size of the calf also matched with this narration. First thing was that it was not the best time for such competitions because camels generally calve in Jan/Feb/March and better time could have been April/May.Barela Camel is the Milk Line of Riverine Pakistan
 These Breela camels won the milk competition in Punjab Pakistan
The participants were not just the men and grownup boys as happens with our cattle/buffalo competitions in March every year. Rather families were there. Milkers combinations were man and wife or man and daughter or mother and daughter or mother and son etc. It was heartening to see these lively families. Amma Pathani (Mom Pathani) was very prominent. She contested like other men and forced even me (the chief judge) to announce results of every camel first in the local dialect, then in local language and then in national language as it was difficult for her (and other contestants, mostly unable to read or write) to wait for more than few seconds. So I had to round things for announcing and remain precise on paper. Her camel got 4th position and was given a special prize. Milk yield (once a day milking, recorded for two days) for 1st, 2nd and 3rd position camels was 17.1 (Bawali), 15.7 (Katti) and 15.1 (Malookan.  I wonder if they could produce at this level in 9-10th months of their lactation what would be the yield in the 2nd month after calving. We will see next year.
 Another important yet expected information was that most of these animals were 2nd and 3rd calvers with some 1st calvers and very few in later parities. Most belonged to either Barela (the dairy breed) or a cross between Barela and Marecha (the racing and dancing breed). Very few were Sindhi or crossbred Sindhis.
Camel dances at the event were worth watching. We had to walk on sand (with camels on our back) about 2 km to the prize distribution ceremony and dances continued. People seemed drunk with camel milk as they did not stop for a second. Age was not a limiting factor. It ranged from ~4 to >80.
 An important announcement is that next year’s camel milk and dance competitions will coincide (conclude) with the camel day, 22nd June. As announced previously, camel conference is planned next year at Bahawalpur and site of milk competition is just 35 km from the city.
Camels from Pakistan are going to Gulf and even to France (for camel milk chocolate) but without a proper breeding and replacement system, my fear is that sustainability issue will haunt in future. Exploitation of camel herders is also feared. Thanks to all those who kept encouraging and were even trying to see everything through sound waves. We will try to post on this discussion forum as the next year events unfold. Few photos are placed. More photos with videos will be posted on http://fangrpk.org.
Reported by
Dr. M. Sajjad Khan
Professor/National Project Director
Dept. Animal Breeding and Genetics
University of Agriculture Faisalabad 38040
PAKISTAN