Activists see hope for Bargur cattle conservation
Chennai: The population of Bargur cattle breed, endemic to the hilly terrains of Erode district, is witnessing a major decline, prompting the researchers to take steps in preserving their numbers.
The population, which stood between 25,000 and 30,000 ten years ago, is dwindling and barely 5,000 animals are surviving in the state now, said Ganapathi, one of the research professors at Bargur cattle research station.
However, animal welfare activists and researchers rejoiced as the Union Ministry of Agriculture, under Rashtriya Gokul Mission, has funded the state government to preserve all native breeds facing extinction, including the Bargur cattle.
Experts attribute the decline to the prevalence of drought, which results in the shrinkage of greenery in the hill ranges. They also blame mechanisation of agricultural activities for the decline.
N. Kumaravelu, Professor and Head, Bargur Cattle Research Station said, "The only hill cattle in Tamil Nadu, Bargur is known for its sturdiness and it has semi-wild characteristics. They are ferocious too, since their habitats are close to wild animals."
The cattle breed is known for less consumption of fodder than the hybrid animals. "On an average, they consume 8 to 10 kilos of fodder, which is four times lesser than cross breed and other cattle," Kumaravelu mentioned.
The decline of the Bargur cattle breed directly hits the livelihood of farmers in the villages of Erode district. Explaining the link, J. Jeyasudha of Universal consciousness trust said: "The indigenous breed is known for producing high yielding milk. Farmers from more than 30 villages at Anthiyur in Erode who depend on Bargur cattle are economically affected. They are not able to sustain their life in the hill".