Quick Facts about Camels’ Domestication History

Domestication of Old World Camels

The Arabian camel has domesticated 3 to 5 thousands year before and the main driver for domestication was it milk. The camel was domesticated a bit later than other animals so its name appeared late in the register of domesticated animals. The one-humped camel (Camelus dromedarius) is found in all Arab land, Africa, South, and Central Asia. dromedary camel is also found in Australian deserts commonly known as a feral camel. Australian camels actually emigrated to Australia with Asian people, especially Afghans to use as a beast of burden for Australian development in the eighteenth century.

Dromedary or Arabian Camel

Tribulus Plant
A dromedary camel grazing in the Arabian desert, eating the Tribulus flowers.
The dromedaries were domesticated even earlier than the Bactrian, before 3000 BC in the Arabian Peninsula. The term "dromedary" is derived from the dramas Greek for "road") and thus is directly applicable only to the racing or riding dromedary. However, the term is used throughout the world to describe this specie.

Dromedaries were first associated with nomadic Semitic cultures and did not become important until the rise of the Arabian culture. They became important domestic animals only with the Muslim conquests of Egypt in the 7th to 11th centuries AD.

The Bactrian or Bakhdi Camels

I shot this picture in the month of the May. Though the weather was not hot still the environment is not very friendly for the exotic livestock.
Two-humped camel (Camelus bactrianus ) is an Asiatic animal found in Gobi desert and other central Asian countries. The Bactrian Camels are thought to have been domesticated prior to 2500 BC. The name Bactrian is derived from a place name, Bactria, on the Oxus River in northern Afghanistan. Domesticated Bactrian camels were found in southern Russia by 1700-1200 BC and even in western Siberia by the 10th century BC. They were used in China as early as 300 BC as the original "silk  route" camels, but were replaced by crossbreds of the Bactrian/dromedary  later on.

Jathnasal or Redi Breed of Camel

In continuation of the previous blog.

Jathnasal or Raidi camel Breed

The habitat of Raidi breed is Kachhi basin ecological zone of the province. This breed is belonging to the mobile indigenous people of Jath community.  The breeding herds of Jathnasal breed are usually community owned and they share profit on the community basis. Jath community has very strongly woven and has a very effective social system. Jathnasal breed is mainly used for the earning of the livelihood. They use the camel for family needs and camel milk is the major and only protein source for the community. They either sell the male animal which is mainly used for carting in major cities or use the male animal for draft work and earn money. They use male and female camel both for luggage transportation with their families. The Jathnasal breed is presented in the figure.

Production systems and socioeconomic importance

The Jath community, according to their elders originated from the Great Indian Desert. They traveled with their camel in search of foliage for their camel and reach to the plains of South Balochistan (Kachhi basin). They had served the camel caravan of the pilgrim going to Makka and coming back to the Indian subcontinent. Actually the Jath settled some 300 years back in this region. They came in the region with the Brela camel breed of Cholistan area from Southern Punjab. The Pat region of Balochistan was then the cross road from India to Arabia. The pilgrims were using camel for transportation and the disabled and wounded animal were being kept with the Jath community while replacing them with energetic and healthy animals. From time to time the camel of Brela was then crossed with many breeds of the sub-continent and new breed came into being. Jaths have their own values and they never slaughter camel. They use camel milk for food and rarely eat flash.

They travel round the year from Jhal Magsi area of the region and travel up to the Bolan hills. They start their movement from Jhal Magsi and surrounding areas of Sind after grazing the aftermath of wheat crops and move towards the north to Bolan hills. They travel in a very wide area with very organized way. This camel belongs to the old indigenous people of Jath community and each tribe has their own sign of identification. They don’t keep any other animal except camel but the Asseel bird (chicken) as a game bird.

Image result for aseel bird chicken pakistan
Aseel Chicken


 Population size and trend

This breed of the camel has one of the largest camel populations of the province.  The population size reaches from 60,000-70,000. The trend of the camel is stable and there is apparently no threat to the breed.  Although, limiting grazing lands because of deforestation and introduction of the canal irrigation in the habitat are the hazards to this breed of camel.


Breeding goal

The breeding goals of the breeders are to produce large sized camel fit for long traveling and tolerant to the high ambient temperature of the region.  They select the vigorous male with large body size, long legs, and neck. The Jath do not consider the color of the breed. They also select the animal for long tests and more milk production to provide sufficient amount of milk to the newborn and also for the family. They also select the male with hard foot pad, to resist the spines of musket plant which is predominantly found in the region.


Special traits

v  Loyalty to the owner (Dalair)

v  Resistant to extremely hot weather of the region (up to 52 °C)

v  Resistant to diseases especially, pox and orf

v  Multi-characteristic because of the blood of many breeds

v  Resistant to foot rot because of the spine of musket

Phenotypic characteristics

The Jathnasal breed is highly diversified, having the blood of many breeds, i.e. Breela, Kohi, Sindhi, Marrecha, Thari or Sindh Desi and many other breeds. The color pattern is also diversified and there are many colors, i.e. Black ( Sawan), white (Aspaid), fawn (Sorebore), deep brown (Boor) and red (Lal) colors. The size of the breed is one of the largest in the province; the phenotypic characteristics are presented in table 5 and figure 3.

Reproductive and productive performance

The breeding season of this breed is December to January. Male is ready for breeding at the 4 years of age and female reaches to the time of mating at the age of 4 years. About 40 she-camels are normally bred by one bull camel. While the service period remains for 6 days and estrus cycle ranging from one week to 4 weeks. Calving interval is normally two years, depending upon the availability of foliage and lactation length. Average reproductive life of a female is about 25 years.  The details are presented in table 6.


Table  Biometric parameters of the Jathnasal breed (cm)

Body measurements Male Female Mean
Head Length 44 43 43.5
Head Width 20 20 20
Wither Height 187 185 186
Thoracic Girth 208 206 207
Abdominal Girth 263 272 267.5
Tail Length 52 50 51
Ear Length 12.5 13.5 13
Ear width 6 6 6
Neck Length 97 90 93.5
Rump Length 155 152 153.5
Estimated Weight (kg) 598 707 652.5

Table Reproductive and productive Traits of the Jathnasal Camel

No Traits Values
Male Female
1 Average birth Weight 60 kg 57 kg
2 Average weaning Weight* 180 kg 170 kg
5 Ready for workload 3 yr 3 yr
7 Use for heavy duty 7-8 yr
8 Age of puberty 4 yr 4 yr
9 Average work-life 25 yr
10 Average reproductive life 25 ye 25 yr
11 Conception rate out of herd 45-50 %
12 Gestation  period 375-386 day
13 Calving rate out of herd 40-45 %
14 Calving interval 2 yr
15 Average milk production 12 kg/day
16 Lactation length 8-11 month
17 Wool Production 2 kg

Marketing and future economic potential

The camel of Jathnasal breed catches very high prices from the camel carters (the person who drive the cart) of the towns and large cities of Sindh. The healthy male animal with good body figures catches a price up to 90, 000 Rupees. The camel herders do not sell the female animals. Jath community do not sell their fertile female camels because the camel is the only source of earning and they have no lands for cultivation. The milk is use to offer to the newborns and family use also.  The Jath community relies on the camel milk and they like it very much.

Indigenous Livestock Breeds of Balochistan

In Balochistan province of Pakistan, there are many livestock species which are well adapted to the climatic conditions and produce a very much low-input livestock production models. Unfortunately, local livestock breeds are never discussed and document earlier by scientists with the perspectives and breeding goals of the keepers. Such poor documentation always smooth-tongued the way for dilution of the pure genetic makeup of the indigenous livestock breeds.

Balochistan is home to many precious livestock breeds and animal culture. Each tribe has its own grazing lands and adopted their own way of livestock production system. Poor documentation always misleads policymakers which resulting in deterioration of the breeds. It is the utmost need of time to characterize and document local AnGR with the perspectives of local livestock keepers while keeping their breeding goals in mind.






Donkey is the hardiest animal and well adapted



In this blog, each breeds the province will be discussed in detail.

Livestock Ecological Zones in Balochistan

Ecological zones of  Balochistan province of Pakistan

The ecological zones already presented in the literature are based on the agronomic prcatices, temperature, rainfall etc. In the present study the ecological zones were sketched on the basis of the local penology, type and production systems of livestock, temperature, rainfall etc. It was revealed that there are six ecological zones for livestock rather than four revealed by literature (Source: National Master Agricultural Research Plan, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council).

The following ecological zones were revealed in the province.

1. Suleiman Mountainous Region (SMR)

This region includes Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Barkhan, part of Loralai and Zhob, Musakhail and Sherani districts of the province. The Suleiman mountain series is located south to north and bordering between Punjab and Balochistan province. The region has rich culture and is the historic homeland of Pashtoon. The climate of the region is mild in summer because of the high altitude and rains in monsoon time. The temperature reaches to 32 C° in summer and drops below zero in winter. Some parts, especially the peaks of the mountains are very cold in winter. The annual precipitation ranges from 300-600 mm per year and the main source of rain is monsoon (GOB, 1999). Some areas receive snow and rains in winter also.

The SMR is the home tract of a wide plant biodiversity and the the vegetation of the region comprises trees like Zizyphus nummolaria (Karkana), Ziz. mauritiana (ber), Z. sativa (Helani), Oleao ferruginea (Showan), Oleao officinalus (showan), pistacia cabulica (wanna), tamarix indica (Ghaz), Prunus eburnean (Zarga, zangli badam) and salvadora oleoides (pilu or perpegh). Bushes of the regions are as fallowing. Haloxylon recurvum (Ghelmi), nannorhops ritchieana (Mazari or Pish), Caragana ambigua (makhie), alhagi camelorum, (Aghzai or Tindan) and periploca aphylla (Barar). The grasses include stipa capillata (Saba), cocculus leæba (Parwatgi), sorghum halepense (Barawa), allium sphærocephalum (khokhae) and Atriplex canescens (sargarae). Livestock agriculture is the centuries old occupation of the inhabitants. The region has wide biodiversity of livestock species and breeds. The major livestock breeds are as following.

Camel; Kohi, cattle; Kohi-Suleiman or Lohani, donkey; Shinghari and Sperki or Pidie, horse; Balochi, sheep; Kakari, Musakhaili, Kajjale and Bybrik and goat; Kohi Suleimani. The tribes of the region are Kakar, Sherani, Mandokhail, Babar, Harifal, Musakhail, Zamari, Marghzani, Essot, Jaffar, Buzdar, Syed, Kethran, Hasni, Mari, Zarkoon and Bugti.

2. Northern highlands (NHL)

This region includes hitoric Kakar Khurasan, Loralai, Zirat, Zhob, Pishin, Qillaabdullah and Quetta vallies. The region falls in the north of the province bordering Afghanistan. The area has very cold winter usually dry. The summers had been mild but some herders beleive that the temperature has been increased during the last few years. This region is severely affected and the rangelands are degraded due to many reasons, i.e. influx of Afghan Migrants, over population, deforestation and the long prevailed drought (1994-2004). The climate of the region is mild in summer because of the high altitude and some eastern part of the region receives rains in monsoon time. The temperature reaches to 30 C° in summer and drops below zero in winter. The region is the coldest region of the province. The annual precipitation ranges from 250-600 mm per anum and mostly receives in winter in form of snow (GOB, 1999).

the major vegetation of the region comprises trees like Zizyphus nummolaria, Oleao ferruginea, Oleao officinalus, pistacia cabulica, Prunus eburnean, Tamarax aphylla, Juniporis excels and Pinus Geranandiana. The bushes are the major feed of camel and comprises of Haloxylon recurvum, nannorhops ritchieana, Caragana ambigua, alhagi camelorum, and periploca aphylla. The grasses include stipa capillata, cocculus leæba, sorghum halepense, allium sphærocephalum, and Atriplex canescens.  The region has wide livestock biodiversity of livestock species and breeds. The major livestock breeds are, camel; Raigi, cattle; Kohi Suleimani, donkey; Shinghari and Sperki or Pidie, sheep; Kakari, Dumeri or Hernai, Gosalli or Kajalle, and goat; Khurasani and Kohi Suleimani. The tribes of the region are Kakar, Pani, Achakzai, Tareen, Syed, Ghilzai, and Barraich.

3. Central Brahvi Highlands (CBH)

This region comprises Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar, mountainous part of Dhadar and Awaran districts of Balochistan province. The region is characterized by high and arid mountains with very hot summers and very cold winters. The temperature may reach to 49 C° in summer and fall below zero in winter. The rainfall of the region is low and erratic (100-200 mm per year) (GOB, 1999). The vegetation of the region consists of Tamarix, Halloxylon grifithii, Alhaji camelorum, Sacharum revanae, Chrysopogon aucheri, C. mantanus, C. schoenanthus, Cenchrus ciliaris and Pannisetum orientale. The livestock breeds of the region are Brahvi camel, Mangeli sheep and Lehri goat. The tribes of the region are Maingul, Samalani, Zehri, Raesani, Bangulzai, Lehri, Rakhshani, Bezenjo, Bajoi, Lango, Muhammad Shahi, Dehwar, Kurd, shahwani, Gichki, Mirwani, Muhammad Hasani and Gurgnari.

4. Kachhi Basin Region

This region comprises of Sibi, part of Dhadar, Jaffarabad, Naseerababd, Lehri and Jhal Magsi locale of the province. The region is plain area, formed of alluvial soil and slopes from north to south with an elevation of about 50 to 100 meters above sea level. The climate of the region is hot and becomes extremely hot and humid in summer. The harshness of summer is prolonged over the months of May, June, July, August, September, and October. It is mildly hot in April. Summer begins from mid March and lasts to the end of October. In winters the weather is pleasant all over the district. It lasts from December to January. The months of April, November and February are pleasant. The humidity is highest in summer, particularly in the area adjacent to the Pat feeder canal, where rice cultivation takes place. The type of vegetation in the region includes Spicigra (Kandi), Capparis Aphylla (Kirar), Salvadora Olevides (Khabbar), Sisyphus jujuba (Bari) and Calotropis Gi Gantea (Ak). The breeds of livestock are the famous Bhagnari cattle, Berberi goat, Balochi sheep and Aseel chicken. The tribes of the region, in the north there are Pani and Kakar Pashtoon tribes and in the south is Rind, Lehri, Somro, Bugti, Mari, Khoso, Jamali, Jatoi and Resai.

5. Chaghai Kharan Desert (CKD)

Chaghai Kharan is one of the famous ecological zones of the country and comprises of the districts Chaghai, Kharan, Noshki, Washuk and part of Makran. The region is unique of its kind and mostly comprised of disserted plains, steppe and mountainous desert. The region is located in the extreme west of Pakistan bound on the north by the desert region (Raig) of Afghanistan. The region is hyper dry and receives very less precipitation in winter and spring from the Mediterranean winds and very rare rains in the summer. The temperature of the region crosses the digit of 40 in the months of June, July and August. The summers are very hotter with minimum rainfall, which worsen the situation more. The region is home tract of many herbal plants and bushes which are being use for grazing of livestock especially camel and goat since unknown times. The speedy deforestation of those bushes, long drought and over grazing had adverse the condition of the region and its ecological landscape diversity is under threat.

The major vegetation includes tree species like Khanjak, (Pistecia Khanjak), Ghaz (Tamarix Articula), shrub like Taghaz (Haloxylon Amodendron), bushes like Hashwarg (Rhozya Stricta), Pog (Calegnum Polygonaides) Cotor (Stockcia Brohinca), Lara (Salsola Kali), Kandar (Alhogi Camelarum), Barshonk, Karwankush, Narronk (Salsola Arbuscula), Tusso (Gaillaina Aucheri) and grasses like Mughair (Atriplex Dimprphostegium), Kash (Sacchorum Siliare), Righith (Suoeda Monica) Shanaluk (Allium Rubellum). The breeds of the region are Kharani camel, Khurasani and Morak goat and Rakhshani sheep. The tribes of the region are Badeni, Muhammad Hasani, Maingul, Jamaldini, Sasoli, Sanjrai, Nothezi, Nausherwani, Malangzai, Siafad, Faqirzai and Hajizai.

6. Balochistan Coastal Region (BCR)

The region is comprised of Lasbella and Makran locale of the region. The climate of the region is hot and humid. The temperature reaches to 40 °C in summer and reaches to 6 °C in winter. The annual rainfall is very low and precipitates about 125 mm per year.

The extensive plains have vast area of sparse vegetation which includes plants species like Salsola sp., Panicum antidotale, Alerupus repens, A. macrstachyus, Cnechrus ciliaris, C. pennisetiformis, C. religerus, C. biflrus besides there are Prosopis cineraria, Salvadora oleoides, Capparis aphylla, Zizyphus sp and Prosopis juliflora. The breeds of the region are Lassi camel and Balochi sheep. The tribes of the region are Lassi, Bizenjo, Jam, Somro, Khoso and Jamali.

Camels’ headache! And now Orf

I received a report about the swelling head disease from a colleague from Mithi district of province Sindh in Pakistan. He has sent me some pictures of the affected camels also. They are upset with the situation and already 37 camels are dead due to this disease. A colleague said, they tried to isolate bacteria but did not succeed yet. While looking at the pictures and the history of the disease, it clearly indicates to Orf. Here is some more information about the Orf disease of the camel in the ensuing lines.

Orf (Swelling Head Disease): This disease comes once in life and occurs before the permanent teeth appear (4-5 years of age). This viral disease is contagious coupled with fever and depression. Nodules develop on the lips and changes into blisters. In advanced stages, blisters are formed inside the mouth and nose. Swelling of the face and the head is the third and the advanced stage of Orf. If not treated properly, the animal becomes blind and unable to eat.

The strategy is based on specific treatment combined with supportive therapy. Specific treatment can consist of pouring warm, boiled water on the animal’s head, or hot branding of the head. As pesticide and/or larvicide, application of DDT powder or Trichlorfon in kerosene oil on the lesions is used, or insertion by smooth sticks with ash from the burned root from the plant Orgalama ((Rhazya stricta). Sometimes specific treatment is not very effective against orf. Supportive therapy can consist of giving hot food.

The hot food comprises of soups made of cockerel meat, egg, pulses, cereals, and chilies etc. Hot food is a composite of those nutrients which keeps the body active, energetic and enhance the activities inside the body.


I shot this picture in Musakhail district of Balochistan, 2016


For more details, please read the article at the following link.