Pahwal or Gaddai camel

Pahwal or Gaddai camel

This breed of camel belong to Pashtun/Afghan Kochis (nomads). They travel from central Afghanistan to north-east Balochistan. Some nomads even cross Suleiman mountains and inter in Indus delta. Some tribes of the Kochis cross Bolan pass and enter in Kachhi area of Balochistan and some go further and inter in Sindh province.
Unfortunately, some Kochis are leaving camel culture and adapted tractors for luggage transportation because of the hinders in the historic routes and war and conflict in the region.

Camel is one of the important modes of transportation for the nomad (Kochis) who travels longer with their livestock, especially sheep and goats. The Gaddai or Pahwal breed of camel is unique of its kind and highly resistant to foot rots in cold wet weather, walks longer distances and can exist in cold and wet weather with scarce feed and water resources. The word Gaddai is derived from Pashtu (the Afghan Kochis mother tongue), meaning compact and round. Pahwal is the word use for Kochis in some Pashtun tribes. The milk production potential is lower, ranges from 3-10 liter per day but the higher variation is the option hope of a medium dairy potential.

Pahwal or Gaddai camel
The Afghan nomad with their Gaddai camel’s herd in their winter destination of Thal Duki, Lorelai district of Balochistan

As this breed of camel belongs to Pashtun/Afghan Kochis (nomads), therefore, they travel from central Afghanistan to north-east Balochistan. Some nomads even cross Suleiman mountains and enter in Indus delta (Punjab province of Pakistan). Characterization and significance of Raigi camel, a livestock breed of the Pashtoon pastoral people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Some tribes of the Kochis cross Bolan pass and enter in Kachhi area of Balochistan and some go further and enter in Sindh province, use the Indus river banks and adjoining areas for grazing of their livestock and the nomads work in the crops of local farmers.

cropped-camel-pic.jpg
A view of the Gaddai camel in the Kakar Khurasan region of Pakistan

Unfortunately, some Kochis are leaving camel culture and adapted tractors for luggage transportation because of the hinders in the historic routes and war and conflict in the region. Also, the land grabbers deforested the Indus banks and grabbed the lands for the cropping, especially the cotton crop.Floods, river Indus and the local livestock breeds in Pakistan

 

NOMAD_AFG

Some tribes replaced camels with the tractors, while the others use a donkey for this purpose. The donkey is equally good and strong transport animal but the longer distances really need the incredible camel.

This breed is under threat because of many reasons, all are manmade. Gaddai is one of the strongest breed/lines of a camel in the region. The British empire chose this breed of the camel to export to the Australia and used in terrain rugs of the country for heavy transport. The Australian camels are mainly composed of this breed.

Customary Laws of Pashtun Pastoralists in North-eastern Balochistan

The land inhabited by Pashtun pastoral people in northeastern Balochistan is owned by communities. Only the roadsides, railway lines and the state areas near the towns and cities belong to the state. There is no conserved area by the Government in the Pashtun lands of Balochistan. Every community and has his own area, which is comprised both of mountainous and plain lands.NOMAD_AFG

After the crop harvest, during the monsoon rains, the pastoral people move towards high mountains and graze the remote and high peaks of the mountains. This type of movement saves their livestock from foot and mouth disease also. The piedmonts and the plain lands are conserved and nobody is allowed to graze animal there, the conservation is called as Pargorr. The temporary and short settlement in the mountains is called as Gholai. They come down to the plain lands crossing the piedmonts and settle for the period of autumn here. The conservation of plain lands for autumn is called as smaller Pargorr. In winter they travel again to the piedmonts area of the mountains and stay there for longer period. This settlement is known as a permanent settlement and called as Pakha Mena. They spent winter here. The topography of piedmonts saves them from the effect of fast wind in the region.

IMG_1254
Shinwari sheep drinking water from a pond

The pastoral people of all the community’s tribes respect the customary laws. The people of other community can come to graze in the area of some other community, but the willingness of the owner community is necessary. Sometimes outsider tribes come without permission along with their animals and create problems. The elders of the tribes call Jirga and settle the issue. These types of situation usually create when there is dryness in the area of other tribe and nothing available for grazing. Usually, pastoral people help each other and if permission has opted then there is no trouble. But there is one important customary law that there is no restriction for the camel. Camel can be grazed anywhere and any time of the year.Kakeri sheep

The afghan nomads have no rights of settlement. They can cross the areas and can stay for 3 days in one community area. The nomads also called as Pawinda have their station (Gholai) where they can stay for three days. Each tribe of Pawinda has their own fix route. Sometimes they can stay more than 3 days at one station if there is rain or snow and their tent is wet. According to customary laws, they are bound to abide by the laws, otherwise, the local administration is being involved and they are pushed to move forward. Some communities allow Pawinda for the whole period of winter in specifically reserved areas and charge them according to the number and species of the animal and the charge is called as Tharni.

Every tribe of Pawinda has his own tribe and it is well established.

Dotani route is Thoi of Waziristan, but this route is in trouble and the tribe is now passing through Zhob valley. This state of the situation has created problems among the pastoral communities and Pawinda. According to the local customary law, they have no right to pass through this area. Also, Dotani tribe has a very large size of animal flocks and herds.

Suleimankhail tribe crosses the famous Gomal pass and enter in Indus delta near Bhakkar of Punjab province. Safi and Akakhail and part of Jiggie tribe have the route in the Kakar land of Zhob and Qillasaifulla. Shinwari, Andar and Kharoti have the route to pass in the Kakar land of Loralai and Qillasaifulla and reach to Anambar area of Duki Loralai in winter and stay there for whole winter and pay Tharni to Loni tribe. Some clan of Shinwari and Kharoti tribes reach to Kethran area and pay Tharni for winter settlement.

Taraki and part of Suleimankhail tribe cross Bolan and reach to the Pat or Kachi basin of Southern Balochistan and some cross the area and reach to Sind province. The customary laws are oral laws and respected by the Government. These laws were formulated in Shahi Jirga of Balochistan and were respected by the British government.

Land grabbing and Restrictions to Pastoralism in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the important countries of the dryland region of the world. Afghanistan is home and cradle of precious livestock breeds. The old civilization of zoroaster domesticated the present day bactrian camel in the ancient city of Bakhtria in Afghanistan. Afghanistan places precious and well adapted livestock breeds with very touchy livestock culture and home of nomads (Kochis).

Kochis or pastoralists having diversity of livestock species and breeds. They are the custodian of such precious animal genetic resources and guardian of the rich culture of nomadism.

Afghanistan being the land of wars and conflicts, now new and modern problems and conflicts area arising in the country. Because of the wars, there were restriction of the nomads movement with their livestock in some parts of the country.  Now arable farmers and warlords are grabbing the land for construction and high input agriculture production which further restrict the movement of livestock.

Nomadism is very important for livestock and flora diversity. Restriction affects the livestock production systems of the Kochis very negatively. Such phenomenon, i.e. land grabbing is further harmful for livestock biodiversity.

It is the utmost need of time to give attention to this issue and save pastoralism and their precious livestock breeds and culture. I hereby appeal international organizations like FAO to facilitate nomadism in Afghanistan and resist land grabbing and restriction of livestock movement of the nomads or Kochis.

Kohi Camel Breed of Suleiman Mountainous Region

Kohi

Kohi camel is predominantly found in Suleiman mountainous region of Balochistan, Pashtoonkhua and Punjab provinces of the country. Some specimens are also found in the Paktia province of Afghanistan. But 70% of the breed is found in the Balochistan province.

 Production systems and socioeconomic importance

There are three major camel production systems in this region viz; nomadic, transhumant or semi-nomadic and sedentary. Socio-economic importance of camel is closely associated with existed production systems. These systems are largely determined by climatic conditions, a topography of the land, plant growth phenology, water sources, etc. As the camels are always on the move, they hardly spend more than one month at one place.

The Kohi camel plays a pivotal role in the socio-economic activities of the region. It is used in the high mountains of Suleiman mountainous series for the transportation of various items. The animal is well fit for work in that hilly land and the broad wide cannon bone make it well to do in that habitat. Camel is also used for the pastoral migration and milk production. Mangrota camel fair is one of the largest camel’s socioeconomic and cultural activities of the camel herders of Kohi breed. The herders manage camel movement and migration pattern according to the onset of the fair. 

Population size and trend

The Kohi camel breed is one of the major camel breeds in the country. This breed is found in the other provinces of the country also. The estimated number of this breed in Balochistan province is almost 70,000 head. This breed still has the importance for transportation and milk are the byproducts, nevertheless, it produces an average of 10 liters of milk per day. The breed is growing and there is no threat to the population of Kohi camel, though the ecosystem of the breed is under threat.

 

Breeding goal of the breed

One of the major breeding goals is the production of vigorous and compact animal for work in the mountainous region. The breeders select usually male camel and there is no choice for female. All the females are being bred, as the breeders believe that male animal play role in the breeding of the camel. Milk production is the second major breeding goal because more milk is the security for the healthier calves and ultimately production of the vigorous camel. The other traits of selection are the white color, beautiful muzzle, curly wool, strong wide cannon bone and wide chest.

Special traits of the breed

  • Compact body, strong hindquarter, wide cannon bones and strong foot pad making it specially fit for mountainous ecology
  • Survival in cold weather without housing
  • Browsing in the small area when vegetation is available (easy care and accessible)
  • White nails and yellowish eye color
  • More weight per unit body area (Compact)
  • Highly resistant to diseases locally called as syed
  • Its white color is the phenotypic marker for more milk yield
  • The animal is very loyal and loving to the owners

 Phenotypic characteristics

The Kohi camel is predominantly white in coat color but some animals locally are known as Spole color (light brown with white legs) are also found. The Kohi camel has white nailed either it is white or Spole coat color.  The animal has a compact body, wide cannon bone, big beefy head and short neck. The herders believe that the white color of Kohi camel produces more milk than Spole (brown body white forelegs) animal and a part of this study proved it valid. The phenotypic characteristics of the breed are presented in table 9.

 

two-type-of-kohi-camel.jpg
The 2 lines of Kohi camel, the white Kohi and the Spole Kohi

 

Reproductive and productive performance

The male is ready for breeding at the 4 years of age and female reaches to the time of mating at the age of 3 years. About 50 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. The conceived she-camel changes her behavior on the 6th day of service and shows a different behavior as erecting her tail when an animal or a person comes near to her. Calving interval is normally two years, depending upon the availability of foliage and lactation length. Average reproductive life of a female is about 20 years. Conception rate of a camel is higher with appreciable calving percentage and rare abortion. A weight of the calf at the birth is almost 35-45 kg, depending upon the sex, nutritional and health status of the dam. Weaning weight at (9 months) is about 155-180 kg. The reproductive and productive characteristics of the Kohi camel.

 

Table Biometric parameters of the Kohi breed

Body measurements Male Female Mean
Head length 42.23 34.16 38.20
Head width 22.60 20 21.3
w.H 176.61 176.13 176.37
T.G 206 207.86 206.93
A.G 234.15 241.5 237.825
TL 50.88 48.10 49.49
EL 12.04 11.77 11.905
EW 6.63 6.99 6.81
NL 88.85 86.18 87.515
BL 140 141.25 140.63
Est. wt 440.69 439.30 439.995

Table Reproductive and productive and traits of the Kohi Camel

No Traits Values
Male Female
1 Average birth Weight 32 – 40 kg 31 – 40 kg
2 Average weaning Weight* 160 – 185 kg 155 – 180 kg
5 Ready for workload 3 yr 3 yr
7 Use for heavy duty 7-8 yr
8 Age of puberty 4 yr 3 yr
9 Average work-life 25 yr
10 Average reproductive life 25 ye 21 yr
11 Conception rate out of herd 50-53%
12 Gestation  period 375-386 day
13 Calving rate out of herd 45-50%
14 Calving interval 2 yr
15 Average milk production 10.7 kg/day
16 Lactation length 8-11 month
17 Wool Production 2.5 kg

Marketing and future economic potential

The animals are grazing in uplands of Suleiman region since March to the end of the September and after that, the animals who ready for sale are moved to the (male) fair of Mangrota, while rest of the animals are moved to the lowlands of Suleiman region and the adjoining areas of Sibi region, where they spend the autumn and winter season. Mangrota animal fair is the biggest of the area and the biggest sale point for the Camels.

The Kohi camel has very good economic potential in future. The camel meat has good taste because of the nature of the vegetation browsed. The Kohi meat is already famous in the pastoral families and has very good potential for export.