The deserts are not only beautiful but a place where you can enjoy the vast horizons and the fragrance of the deserts’ flora. The desert after the rains convert into an echoing green sands, rich with diversity of flora and fauna. The whole picture makes the scene very attractive, which works as an ECOTHERAPY.
I hereby share some glimpses from the desert. I’m sure, it will work as a healing agent for your health and thoughts. Lets, enjoy the glimpses and please come with your suggestions and thoughts.
The beautiful red sandy desert of the Alain is unique and special of its kind. I have named the desert as living desert. I hope, you will enjoy and share my articles on your social media pages.
You can see different kinds of life in the desert. You can find wasp, ants, lizards and different types of plants. The mix of the sunshine, dusk, rays, flowers, camels and others make is a scene of paradise.
Some plants are very specialized and crafted very unique by the nature. Such plants know how to survive in the harsh and hostile ecosystems. They are beautiful and useful as well.
Camel is one of the unique gift of the nature, landed in the desert. Loving camel is engineered in my DNA. I do not know, what the nature has really planned for me and the camel.
The main question is still there, how to harvest the potential of the desert sustainable and humanly. The bush fire, climate change and the planet warming has created serious questions in the minds of the people who really concern.
Let we think the nature as our mother and as our breath
The camels are highly adapted to the harsh and hostile climates of the sphere. The 3 important adaptation strategies are the tools in such climates, i.e. 1. depending for food based on plants which are hardy, dry and bitter/salty (usually avoid by other livestock. 2. Long walking ability to reach to the places where food is available. 3. Body physiology to cope with the burning temperature with the scarcity of water.
Series of Camel ice-cream plants species is continuous process, the outcome of desert walks
Being an ethnoecologist and ethnobotanist, I have started characterization, documentation and reporting about the plants species which are liked as icecream by the camels. You can read about the series as 1, 2, 3 in the links below.
This plant is also liked by camels very much. The plant has rich nutritional value as well as used as a herbal source of medicine. The camel love the plant especially when it is in flowering and seeding stages. I think they like it in these stages because of the aroma and the high protein contents of flowers and seeds respectively. The plants is very strong, powerful to resist the winds of the desert. The multiple branches make it stronger and a source of protection for different insects and reptiles.
I have explored the camel desirability towards this plant during my desert exploration walks. Some ethnoveterinarian suggest this plant in flowering stage as a good source of revitalizing camel body. When the seed is matured, the camel like it even more.
Ethnoherbal Role of the Plant
The tiny flowers of the plants work as a strong laxative agent. The shoots with flowers is a source of flashing the digestive system of the livestock as well as human being. It is also given to camels suffering weakness. and lower desire to food.
The Plant is a Heaven for Bees and other Fauna
The plant has very attractive flowers with yellow color and strong smell, making it very attractive for the wasps, bees and other insects. The multiple branches and dense cover, it is an attraction for the reptiles so they can hide and feel safe.
The Desert Precious Biodiversity is Depleting
Unfortunately, many precious desert plants including this one, are depleting, because of many reasons. This plant really need to be well studies, documented and identify the status and the risk factors. Such plants can ensure sustainable camel and other livestock production in the desert ecosystem.
Read something more about the plant in the link below.
Camel’s milk as a remedy for autism-afflicted Malwa
Jasmine Singh in Chandigarh
A workshop is underway at Baba Farid Centre for Special Children in Faridkot. Tribune file
Jasmine Singh in Chandigarh
Soil contamination can wreak havoc with human health. There is growing fear in many parts of the Malwa region in Punjab that the presence of heavy metals in the subsoil has led to autism, mental retardation and learning disabilities among children. A study conducted by Baba Farid Centre for Special Children (BFCSC) along with the National Research Centre on Camel (NRCC), Bikaner, shows that autism can be treated. Of the various treatments suggested, camel milk is also being recommended in treating autistic children.
Children who were given camel milk have reported better sleep, increased motor-planning abilities and spatial awareness, more eye contact, better language, and less gastrointestinal problems. This has fed demand for camel milk, especially in the Malwa region. At present, the NRCC is providing camel milk at the BFCSC, Faridkot, for autistic children. For research works, it is supplying the milk at Faridkot, Bathinda, and Ambala. The price of camel milk depends on quantity and transport. Dr. Pritpal Singh, who is working for autistic children at the Faridkot center, hopes that camel milk will prove beneficial for such children. Many doctors claimed that autism is neither a mind nor a genetic disorder. It is a biochemical disorder involving the whole body. “Lower immunity with repeated bacterial and fungal infections, multiple allergies, autoimmunity, and leaky gut with diarrhea or constipation are universal. Camel milk, in these cases, works like a magic potion,” said Dr. Amar Singh Azad, chief consultant at Baba Farid Centre. The BFCSC has taken up a research project in collaboration with the NRCC. Dr. Amar Singh Azad, Baba Farid Centre, Dr. NV Patil, director and Dr. Raghvendar Singh, principal scientist, NRCC, are supervising the project.
Under the project, autistic children of the Baba Farid center were given 500ml of camel milk along with other treatment. The raw camel milk was brought from the camel research farm in Bikaner in a cold chain and distributed to four BFCSC centers — Faridkot, Bathinda, Ambala, and Patiala. The results which are evaluated with the help Autism Evaluation Checklist (ATEC SCORE) have been positive. ATEC SCORE, a scientific tool, is used to measure improvements among the children consuming camel milk. This score has 77 items with 180 marks which are auto-analyzed by software, which is operated by Autism Research Institute. Nearly, 41 children of Baba Farid Centre were analyzed with this score and it was found out that on an average, there was an improvement of 26 points. In 27 children, the improvement was 25 points; in 11, it was 26 to 50 points while in three, the improvement was more than 50 points. There was no child who showed no improvement.Dr. Azad said, “The first phase of the research is over. In the next phase, we will take 30 children who are consuming camel milk but are not taking other treatment and another 30 children who are drinking camel milk with other treatment. This will help to establish the exact role of camel milk in managing autistic children.”
He said research in other countries had also revealed that camel milk was effective in tackling autism as a study in Saudi Arabia had proved that autism symptoms improved with camel milk.Dr. Raghvendar, head, ICAR-CSWRI, Avikanagar, says studies published in the International Journal of Human Development showed that the consumption of camel milk improves immunity among autistic children.
Hi camel lovers,
The people ask me, why the trees in the desert look so beautiful and straightly trimmed from the ground side? They really look very beautiful.
Now see, how the camel makes it possible? This morning, I shot this picture when the camel was on its task making the tree beautiful. The camel eats from such precious plants. The roots of these plants are so deep, making them resilient in the desert and also taking micronutrients from the deep soil.
Look! the camel is trying to reach the twigs to eat, such efforts of the camels making possible this beautiful art.
In the above picture, you can see the camel is trying to reach the twigs (in the large circle on the left). This way camel pruning the trees up to his muzzle height. Ghaf (Prosopis cineraria) is the ice cream plant for camels. They like this tree very much. Plants that are Liked such as Icecream by the Camels. Part 1
See in the circle on the ground with a bush the camel also like but near the Ghaf tree the camel ignore this bushes and moves towards the Ghaf tree. The horizontal arrow indicates the straight level the tree is trimmed.
The deserts trees roots are much deeper, therefore, their products are rich with minerals and other micronutrients, ultimately making camel milk special and super.
Small scaled family farming plays a multidimensional role, ensure not only livelihood but play a pivotal role in biodiversity conservation. Such farmers judiciously use the weeds and herbs grow along with the crops and use the crop residues as animal feed. Here are some pictures, I shot in my hometown Borai, Loralai which show us the beauty of this unique farming system. The farmer told me that he never used any pesticides and chemical fertilizer.
Vegetables are grown at the orchard, providing rich and safe food for the family.
More plants and animals diversity is placed on a smaller piece of land with the highest productivity and the whole family depends on this farm in one or other way.
The almond tree with heavy production
Almond catch good prices and also a source of family food in winter
Alfalfa for cow (milking)
Some green chilies are the integral part of the food
The story is hereby released at the eve of the World Camel Day 2018.
The author was invited by the newly established Mongolian Camel Milk Company. The group owns their camels in the desert as their half families live there with the precious livestock in the amazing Gobi.
I started traveling from Dubai airport (2 am, 20th April) and reached Ulaanbaatar on the 21st morning 7 am (Cengiz Khaan International Airport) via Moscow by Aeroflot. The 12 hours stay in Moscow Sheremetyevo airport was an excellent experience of life as I slept in a small cabin available on rent, the first time in my life.
Sanaa and Enkhie (the trip organizers) received me at the airport and took me to the hotel (Khuvsgul Lake). Today, the program was composed of some meetings in the UB city with camel scientists/researcher, businessmen and visiting Changiz Khan Museum.
Travel to South Gobi Desert
Next day, we traveled for more than 10 hours by road and reached South Gobi region. We traveled another 1:30 hour to reach the nomad Ger (house). The nomad family warmly welcomed us and we stayed overnight there. I slept in the Ger first time.
This time period of the year, the nomads do not milk the camels but to let the calf take it and get stronger. The Bactrian camels have beautiful small teats with a strongly attached compact udder.
Seeing Camels and Interviewing the Herder
Next day, I woke up in the morning and went to the camels. They are still roaming near the Ger with their calves. The calves are tied. I observed the calves and the dams and found them very healthy and stronger.
Types of camel
There are 3 types of Bactrian camels in the region, i.e.
Galba Gobiin Ulaan (Reddish colored camel)
Khaniin Khestiin Khuren (Brown colored camel)
Thukhum MTungologiin kKhos Zogdott Khuren (double line neck hair)
The breeding season starts in October and reached the peak in December and slowly decline and cease in April. Usually, one Bull is enough for up to 70 she-camels. The details of the production traits are given in the table below.
Table: The Production Traits of the Bactrian camel in the region
Conception Rate (%)
Avg. Milk (kg)
The table clearly indicates the breeding season, calving percentage, and the milk production. The Camel Milk is lower in quantity, producing from 1-3 liter/day but the milk is thick and full of energy to give special strength to the calf to survive in challenging environment. The average milk production based on my survey is 640 ml/day with lactation yield 233 kg. The lactation here calculated on the annual basis but in actual, the camel produces for up to 8 months.
Camel Milk Products
The nomads use camel milk as fresh directly. The surplus is converted into fermented product (Harmok). The Harmok is used very widely and some products are available in the market in Ulaanbaatar. For further details about Bactrian milk, you can go to the link Detailed Nutritional Composition of Bactrian Camel’s Milk
The surplus Harmok is converted into CM Vodka and the residues are used to make Curt. The curt and Vodka is offered to the guests as a unique product of the Gobi.
The Attachment of Nomads with camel
The nomads love their camel very much. They call it Temeh in the Mongolian language. They use camel for riding, racing, festivals, wool, and also for meat (in rare cases).
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.
*Sustainability in true sense means ‘considering the hidden costs like water & carbon footprint along with the other environmental factors.
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.
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
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 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.