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The Ultimate Choice or an Old Song with the New Drum?

I hereby to start a discussion about the selection of genetic resource for livelihood in the difficult ecosystems of the world. In my view, a true and durable sustainability of food production can be achieved with the tool of the local/native genetic resources embodied with the traditional knowledge. 

The Kharani camel in the Kharan desert

The best milk yielder in the deserted ecosystems

*Sustainability in true sense means ‘considering the hidden costs like water & carbon footprint along with the other environmental factors.

 Based on my experience and lifetime achievement, the native/local genetic resources are the only choice to ensure livelihood in a true sense of sustainability RESILIENCE OF NATIVE LIVESTOCK BREEDS TO CLIMATE CHANGE
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In the far and wide drylands of the world, local/native genetic resources are playing a pivotal role in sustaining livelihood in the difficult environments since unknown time. To me, the camel is one of the best choices among the best genetic resources.

Originally domesticated for food production, especially milk, the camel was later used for other purposes and the milk became the secondary product.

Good news, that camel is again turning towards its original task, the milk. Camel is no more the animal of the old world, but an animal which may be used to combat the growing desertification and to feed millions of people living in those regions. It has been shown that camels can provide 15-20 liters of milk per day for a lactation period of up to 18 months, making it a very good farm animal.

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Based on my personal experience of a camel farm for milk purpose, some camels can produce >12,000 kg milk per lactation (genetic potential) but the majority of population fall in >3,000 kg. The yield is sustainable in the true sense as camel consumes a lesser quantity of water/kg milk production. The same is true for the energy consumption as the camel doesn’t need weather comfort because of its special genes adapted to hostile weathers. 

Africa, the Climate Change Hot Spot

Studies conducted in the horn of Africa revealed that the camel produced more milk than the other types of tropical animals compared on the basis of kg/TLU/year. A wide part of the African continent is well familiar with the camel milk, and consider it the fluid of choice in all conditions. Camel Milk and Challenges of Modern Time; The Concept of Natural Health

Africa camel

The Treasure is Uncovered in Another Hot Spot

South Asia, especially dryland (Western India and a major part of Pakistan) are the worst affected by the climate change calamities. The great Thar Desert being the habitat of the world’s best milk camel is an uncovered treasure of the region. Badly neglected and hidden from the consideration of the policymakers. A Beautiful Camel Heritage is Sinking

The Camel Milk in Pakistan~An Example

Pakistan is home to 0.9 million camels with a 20% of lactating camel (herd composition) Livestock production and population census in Pakistan: Determining their relationship with agricultural GDP using econometric analysis. About 0.18 million camels give milk for a lactation (average 2,200 kg/lactation), producing around 396,000 ton of milk annually but had never been considered a documented food item in the grey records of the country. Per head basis camel in the country produces far better than the indigenous cattle/buffalo breeds, Frisian, and their crosses (in true measurement model).

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Conclusion

The time has reached to know and exploit the true potential of native genetic resources like camel and to find the ways to sustain livelihood (in the true sense) of the generations to come. I would appreciate a positive and healthy debate to be initiated regarding the food production in a truly sustainable model under the climate change scenario.

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A Beautiful Camel Heritage is Sinking

IMG_0537A precious camel heritage of Marrecha in Cholistan desert is at risk. This brief study tells, how this beautiful culture is eroding because of the negligence of the policymakers. It is very crucial to involve the native livestock keepers in policies regarding research and development of the region but unfortunately, it is happening the otherwise. ♠♠♠♥♥

Where is the Cholistan Desert?

Having seen many deserts of the world, I’m quite sure that Cholistan desert is one of the most beautiful and living deserts of the world. No doubt, it is a desert but acts as a food bucket (animal origin) for the country since ages.  The commune of the Cholistan is called Rohila and the tribe rearing camel is called Marrecha. This cherished desert is situated in the South–West of Punjab province (Pakistan) and is spread over an area of 26,000 square kilometers. It is located between latitudes of 27° to 42° and 29°N and longitude of 57° to 60°E. The length of the desert is about 480 Km and breadth is from 32 to 192 Km.

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The map of the Cholistan desert

The Ecosystems and the Camel Adaptation

The Pakistani camel breeds are highly diversified at inter and intra breed basis Rapid change of strategy is necessary for development of dromedary camel pastoralism in the Cholistan desert of Pakistan and found in different ecological zones of the country. Each breed/type has its own uniqueness and usefulness based on the breeding goals of the relevant breeding community. Cholistani pastoralists (Rohila or Marreche) predominantly keep the highly adapted desert camel Marrecha (gets its name from Marrecha tribe). The Marrecha breeders have their own native wisdom and knowledge of conservation and management of animal genetic resources.

The Marrecha Camel

The Marrecha breeders have their own native wisdom and knowledge of conservation and management of animal genetic resources. The Marrecha commune living in the deep desert works as an institution, treasured with precious knowledge of the ecosystems, available natural resources, especially vegetation, biological and natural health, animal breeding and survival and resilience in climate change scenario.

 

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The caravan of Marrecha camels passing by the Killa Dirawar

 

The Marreche Institutions and the Camel Genetic Resources 

The Marreche breeders are color sensitive as in the other parts of the world. They only consider a camel Marrecha if it has coat color from sandy, blackish brown to light brown. CAMEL REARING IN CHOLISTAN DESERT OF PAKISTAN. The pastoralists have a very clear stance on the breeds and the special traits which they use as their basic breeding goals.DSC04312.JPG

Marrecha herders’ top priority (breeding goal) is to produce pack camels for transportation of goods and families in the desert. They consider the hardiness, intelligence, and obedience as important but special traits for their camels. Along with the special traits, they use phenotypic traits as the markers of the genetic potential and adaptation to the deserted ecosystem.  These animals are lightly built, medium sized with a medium head which is carried on a lean long beautifully curved neck Dancing Marrecha Camel of Cholistan Pakistan.  Some of the phenotypic traits are listed below.DSC04311.JPG

  1. The flat and wide foot pad (walking ability in desert)
  2. The mouth is small with tight lips
  3. prominent round bright eyes, and narrow muzzle
  4. Long eyelashes and long hair on the ears and neck
  5. lean long beautifully curved neck covered with long hair
  6. small ear (Rabbit like) with dense air like brush
  7. The legs are thinner but strong, fine and well shaped
  8. the cylindrical body
  9. Medium head with a protruded nose

Marrecha camel

The Output Potential and the Worth of the Marrecha Camel

  • As a riding/packed Animal: Marrecha camels are fine, fast and gracious looking, so they are called the riding camels.  Marrecha can travel from 100 to 125 Km/ day at a high speed of 20-25 Km per hour. As a pack animal, it can transport 300 to 400 kg weight and can travel up to 50 km/day.
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  • As a Milk Animal: Milk production is the secondary job of the Marrecha camel. Because of its highly adapted nature, it produces milk in harsh conditions with high ambient temperatures and scarcity of feed and water. These characteristics of the Marrecha camel enable camel herders to live and stay deep in the desert and depend on the camel milk for food. The Marrecha pastoralists have an average herd size of 37 camels, majority female (20-25% lactating camels) Marrecha camel of Cholistan Desert. A good Marrecha camel can produce up to 10 milk/day and produces up to 250 days in the ordinary grazing management in the desert. A lactation yield of 1500 kg is expected from an average lactating camel in the desert of Cholistan. 

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The Camel Heritage is sinking here…

The Marrecha pastoralists are facing the burden of constraints with a complex nature. Here the problems are presented in the bullets below.

  • Contrast to other deserts, the Cholistan is squeezing in size and the grazing lands are shrinking
  • The land right/grazing rights are not honored and the land grabbing is mounting with each moment of the time
  • The influentials from other regions and provinces allow the grazing lands of the pastoralists and shoot the camels entering in the allotted lands
  • Unfortunately, Cholistan desert is exactly situated along the world’s complex border between Pakistan and India
  • The movement restriction among the pastoralists on both sides of the border is resulting in the deterioration of the Marrecha breed because of the stipulation of the crossbreeding with other desert types of camels (Bikaneri and Jaisalmeri).
  • The region is one of the hot spots of the climate change which embracing the pastoralists with the complex challenges, especially new and fatal diseases.
  • The policy makers avoid engaging the pastoralists in policies, resulting in the Cholistan into the graveyard of the failed project. 

 

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The Best Option for Sustainable Food Production in Challenging Environment ~is the Promising Camel

Happy Camel’s Day (WCD)

Among the camel’s world, the subcontinent is the region where the day starts first. It is 22nd June in the subcontinent, so I can safely say Happy Camel’s Day. At the occasion of WCD, I started the series of articles based on the documents/material sent from different corners of the world. As my own share, I want to express my views on the role of the camel as a farm animal in NENA region.

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Not the ship but the gift of the desert

Near East and North Africa (NENA) is one of the driest and challenging landscapes on the face of the earth. The major percentage of the global deserted lands fall in this region, making it a hostile ecosystem for many other livestock species. Nature blessed the region with the highly adapted and unique livestock species “the Camel”, well said as Ataullah in Arabic.

As mentioned in the holy book Quran “do they do not look at camel; how strange it is created?” the camel is the animal of unique characteristics’ making it the most valuable creature of the drylands. The people living in this region, especially the camel herders and pastoralists depend on the camels for food, accessibility, and other livelihoods. Camel produces milk in very high ambient temperatures and other climatic challenges, in the same environment, other livestock species are hard to survive. Camel is not in competition with any other livestock as camel browse on very woody and bushy vegetation.

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The desert’s friend…

In the climate change scenario and fragile security (in some parts of Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria) camel is the animal of choice to provide precious food items as milk (primary product) and meat to ensure the survival of the people. Camel farming needs very low input making it a sustainable profession.

Based on my experience and scientific findings, I can say that camel is the most sustainable farm animal in the region. The cow model (cow dairies) is not sustainable in such a hostile ecosystem and the milk produced is very expensive if calculated in the ecosystem model as the cow needs many times more water to produce one liter of milk. The camel tolerates very high ambient temperatures, on a contrary, the cow needs a cooling system (using fossil oil) to produce milk in the same situation.

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Camel ensures accessibility in the remote areas

The quality of camel milk is very appreciating than that of cow milk. Free of allergen protein, intolerant lactose and low in the saturated long chain, fats making the camel milk the best choice for health sensitive people. The region needs to ensure joint efforts for making policies regarding the food and agriculture and keep the camel on top priority as an animal of food security in climate change scenario.

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They are not in competition with other livestock species

The organization “Camels4Life” which is an advocacy group supporting camel’s cause,  is always willing to support both governments and NGOs for finding ways to use a camel as a sustainable farm animal contrast to its old vision of beast of the burden.

For more details, please go to the link below.

https://camel4milk.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/camel-a-one-in-all-creature/

http://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/al-ain-doctor-sees-potential-in-camels-beyond-their-milk

My Desert Walk and Exploration

Here are some beautiful shots of the desert flora and fauna. I compiled this work during my desert exploration walk.

Natural Health with the Camel Milk

I love camels as well as the desert. As contrary to the common perception, the deserts are very rich and beautiful land. I hereby share some snapshots of the beautiful flora and fauna of the Arabian desert. I shot these pictures during my desert walk.

Here is some floral picture.

The title and some description of each picture are provided in the picture. You will learn something, you have not read in a book and not seen on televisions.

Please support me technically with your suggestions and comments.

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

How to categorize camel for breeding and selection?

Communities' Animal Genetic Resources and Food Security

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.

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  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…

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Balochi Horse of Balochistan

Balochi Horse, an incredible nature’s gift

Communities' Animal Genetic Resources and Food Security

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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. Balo2download.jpg

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…

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Camel Milk (CaM) Can Give You Better Weight Control

The CaM is a real treasure and blessing of nature, enabling our body to function and sustain in the most difficult era of human history (with perspectives of the food quality). A comprehensive and control scientific research is the utmost need of time to uncover the hidden treasures of the superfood. Health professionals, natural and traditional healers, food scientists and chemists are hereby asked to come forward, make a good team and work on the CaM in different parts of the world.

Natural Health with the Camel Milk

Obesity is one of the most alarming issues of the modern era. Different reseasons have been discussed to be responsible for this problem but still, many more thoughts are emerging and coming into the discussion. I have been following the discussion going on about Gut health and its connection with different aspects of human health and well being What we do and do not know about the gut health.

It is a wide and multidimensional discussion, covering different aspects of the health and the food we eat and the way we live (environment, sleep, stress etc). While following the whole talk and discussion, I have noticed that many aspects of healthy foods are not covered in the topic, here my thoughts go to the camel milk.

CaM Theory

  • CaM is my area of study and the core point of my research and publications. From the last 8 years, I’m trying to…

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Unique Benefits of Camel Milk

Camel milk is special and unique as camel itself; it contains a higher quantity of noble elements (lactoferrin, Vitamin C, Zn, Insulin-like protein, and calcium etc.) and deficient in damaging substances (cholesterol, calories, and lactose etc.)

Natural Health with the Camel Milk

Not only is camel milk a “super food” nutritionally, it is antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-autism 1  and has anti-carcinogenic effects; thus millions are turning to this unparalleled dairy product. Additionally, these desert animals are not threatened by climate change and a growing dependence on them can remain sustainable. Human health challenges such as Ebola can be better assisted with camel milk, especially with less nourished populations.

Hannah Training Camel from Dairy Hannah Purs preparing camel for milking. Credit to Hannah Purs

Camel milk is special and unique as camel itself; it contains a higher quantity of noble elements (lactoferrin, Vitamin C, Zn, Insulin-like protein, and calcium etc.) and deficient in damaging substances (cholesterol, calories, and lactose etc.). Lactoferrin2 is iron-containing protein (recently found by scientists in such a high level in camel milk) has been shown to have antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-carcinogenic effects. As camel milk, lactoferrin is unique itself. The world…

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How to Chase the Camels’ Ticks?

How to better control ticks in the camel house?

Communities' Animal Genetic Resources and Food Security

Ticks are the blood-sucking insects and indirectly causing tick born diseases. The best way is to control through Biological means. They become very active in the night when there is dark and the weather is mild. I would like you also read the ethnoveterinary measures of the camel herders to control such troubleshooting.Ethnoveterinary treatments by dromedary camel herders in the Suleiman Mountainous Region in Pakistan: an observation and questionnaire study

Sometimes, you cannot see on the camels’ body in the daytime. You even do not notice if there are ticks near or on the camels. Here, I share some pictures (the steps and ticks’ pictures) which will help you in understanding.

Beautiful walkway of the ticks The sign of footsteps of the ticks on the sand.

The best way is to control biologically;

  • The chickens if not provided other feed, they better eat the ticks.
  • All partridges, especially Guinea fowl also a good eater…

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The Floral Diversity of the Desert

Deserts are the rich lands on the earth treasured with the well-adapted unique floral and faunal diversity.

The strongest, resilient, and very beautiful Ghaf (Prosopis) tree deep in the desert. See how strong she stands and faces the desert storms.
See the strength of the Ghaf tree, the national tree of the United Arab Emirates.