Category Archives: Camel domestication

Heartiest congratulation and Happy New Year 2017

I hereby send you my heartiest congratulation on the occasion of the onset of 2017. I wish you a very prosperous new year for you and your beloved ones.
This year the incredible camel progressed further in many ways; i.e.
  • Many scientific articles published in well-reputed journals.
  • Camel milk made more space for the food table at global level
  • The healing aspects of camel milk are appreciated from many corners
  • Some regional camel conferences
  • Some more PhDs created on camels’ issues.
Happy New Year.png
I wish you good luck and hope we shall keep our courage intact and our spirit up.

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.

DSC00297

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.

Bandari

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.

cropped-dsc00193.jpg

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.

cam.jpg

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

The Nature Engineered Distinctive DNA 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.

Kohi Camel Caravan.jpg

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.

dromedarypic1

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

http://www.zmescience.com/science/dromedary-camel-genetics/

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

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. 

DSC05907

  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/

Some Facts About Camel along with its Real Terminology

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Camelidae
Genus: Camelus
Scientific Name: Camelus dromedarius
Common Name: Camel/Jamel
Other Name(s): Dromedary Camel, Arabian Camel, One-Humped Camel

The Kharani camel in the Kharan desert

The best milk yielder in the deserted ecosystems

Group: Mammal
Number Of Species: 1
Location: Asia, Africa, and Australia
Habitat: Arid desert and scrubland
Colour: Cream, Tan, Brown, Black, white, Fawn etc
Skin Type: Hair/wool
Size (L): 2.2m – 3.5m (7.25ft – 11.5ft)
Weight: 300kg – 900kg
Top Speed: 64kph (40mph)
Diet: Herbivore
Prey: Thorny and Salty Plants, Grass, Grain
Group Behaviour: Herd
Life Span: 40 – 50 years
Age Of Sexual Maturity: 3 – 5 years
Gestation Period: 390 – 410 days
Average Litter Size: 1
Name Of Young: Huwwar/Calf
Age Of Weaning: 4-6 months
Conservation Status: Common
Estimated Population Size: 20 million
Biggest Threat: Drought
Most Distinctive Feature: Long, curved neck, and large hump
Fun Fact: Can survive without water for 10 months!

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

Camel Peace Caravan for Conservation of Unique Tamarix Forest

The Lasbela region is covered with more than 12% with wide flora diversity, especially unique Tamarix and Jar species. The woodcutter brutally cut these precious forest trees and sell at very cheaper rates in the nearby towns. Hence, deforestation is happening in a very speedy way. With an appealing thematic area, I am trying to divert woodcutter camel communities to use the camel as a touristic opportunity. From main RCD road to the river of Kerri, there is a long camel route, now declared as camel peace caravan. In this way, the camel woodcutters will divert from their hard job to a nice and easy job of the camel caravan. I hope, we can attract more and more people to enjoy this unique touristic opportunity.Tamarix Forest

As a starting point, I and other two colleagues from the Lasbela University started first Camel peace caravan from the campus to Kerri on 3rd May (2014) and came back the next day. All the pictures are already released on my facebook page. The link is given above in the camel peace caravan.

Image

Camel is an integral part of the Balochistan’s culture and heritage. Lasbela region of Balochistan is well known for its culture, heritage, and camels. Rich with a wide diversity of flora and fauna, Lasbela is the home tract of two camel breeds (cultural notion). Both breeds are briefly discussed in the ensuing lines.

a. Lassi; It is a pack animal, mostly use for wood and other types of transportation, especially use by wood cutters. The animal is also used for meat production. This camel is widely used for meat in the region. The demand for the male animal is quite high at the Islamic ritual of Eid Adha which is one of the main support for the conservation and development of this breed. As its role as a beast of burden is diminishing, the demand for its meat is the future hope for this precious breed. Lassi Breed of Camel In Balochistan

Lasi camel breed

Milking Camel of Lassi Breed in their true habitat

b. Bhirdi; The tribe of breed keepers and camel breed names are the same. This camel is usually used for riding in deserted ecosystems. It is smart and unique animal and milk is by-product use by the pastoralists in the weathers when others animals’ milk is ceased.

Bhirdi Camel Breed

Author riding race camel of Bhirdi breed

Camel is still and will be an integral part of the Lai people’s culture. To advocate the role of the camel in its true habitat of Lasbela, this precious animal can be a very useful source of earning for the marginalized people. Otherwise, they will continue the process of deforestation which will be a great loss for the precious biodiversity of the hot spot of coastal landscape of the country. Camel peace caravan is one of the important initiatives not only to halt deforestation but also to use this animal of peace for the further strengthening of peace and brotherhood in the region.