UNDP project to protect Vechur cow

UNDP project to protect Vechur cow

Community plan for sustainable conservation

Native breed:Vechur cow.
Native breed:Vechur cow.
A project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been launched for community partnership in sustainable conservation of Vechur and other native cattle of Kerala.
The launch of the project, being implemented by the Vechur Conservation Trust (VCT), coincides with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of a unit for conservation of Vechur cow at the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU). The unit is now a part of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.
The Vechur cow, a rare breed of Bos indicus cattle, has an average length of 124 cm and height of 87 cm. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the smallest cattle breed in the world. It is a low-maintenance breed. In 2000, the Vechur cow was listed on the FAO’s World Watch List of Domestic Animal Diversity, in its ‘Critical-Maintained Breeds List’. Only about 200 Vechur cows reportedly exist today.
The Vechur cow was reportedly saved from extinction by the conservation efforts at the KAU under the leadership of Sosamma Iype, the then Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics. She is now Managing Trustee of the VCT, founded in 1998.
“The conservation efforts will yield results only if farmers develop a business model. The UNDP project is aimed at helping farmers in this respect,” she said.
KVASU Vice-Chancellor B. Ashok said that the university was ready to work in tandem with the VCT for conservation of native cattle.
Arun Kumar, president of the Indian Veterinary Association, expressed concern over the alleged indiscriminate breeding by certain agencies in the name of Vechur conservation.
“The conservation efforts of the past 25 years will be reversed if the government continues to supply semen from bulls purchased from unknown sources,” he said.
A project of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Attappady Black goats has also been launched.



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