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Odisha to conserve indigenous breeds of cattle facing extinction

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Bhubaneswar: With livestock breeds indigenous to Odisha facing serious existential threats due to cross-breeding and adoption of foreign varieties, the state government has decided to identify and conserve the local species.

While the government has identified 21 indigenous species for conversation, it is trying to register the breeds with the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resource (NBAGR) that would boost the conservation and upgradation of livestock resources in the state.

“We are developing selected breeds and trying to conserve and upgrade the breeds through natural processes. Since indigenous breeds have shown exceptional survivability in different regions, they need to be preserved,” Fisheries and Animal Resources Development secretary, Bishnupad Sethi was quoted as saying.

There are 29 endangered indigenous breeds in total, comprising five of cattle, eight of buffalo, five of sheep, four of goat, three of hen, and four of duck. Of them, eight have either been already delcared indigenous, or registered by NBAGR.

Binjharpuri, Motu, Ghumsuri, and Khariar cattle, as well as the Chilika and Kalahandi buffalo, have already gained recognition as indigenous breeds of the country.

Besides, Ganjam goat and sheep, in Ganjam and Bolangir and Aseel, chicken have also been registered with NBAGR in recent years.

“In terms of buffalo genetic resources Odisha has two national recognised breeds – Chilika and Kalahandi.

However, a lot of lesser known buffalo germplasm, like Paralakhemundi, Manda, Jerangi, Sambalpuri and Kugang, are also found in the state,”said Susant Kumar Dash, professor of animal breeding and genetics at Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT)

The indigenous livestock population possess valuable traits such as disease resistance, high fertility, good maternal quality, longevity and possess unique ability to utilize poor quality feed, and can adapt to harsh and difficult climate.

Dash,who is credited for giving national recognition to four cattle and two buffalo breeds of the state, said that he has already submitted the research paper and applied for national recognition of another two indigenous breeds, Paralakhemundi and Manda with NBAGR.

Manda buffalos are found in Ganjam and Gajapati, while Parlakhemundi buffaloes hail from Gajapati and Koraput districts.

Besides Ganjam and Bolangir sheep, which are the two nationally recognised breeds of sheep in Odisha, there are several goat breeds like Bengal type, Raighar, Ghumusari, Maraguda, and Kalahandi goat with different potentialities.

“My team has already prepared a report on Kendrapara sheep, which have high potency with respect to prolificacy and mutton production. These are the only sheep which have the highest percentage of multiple births in the world,” said Dash.

The study by OUAT and Odisha Livestock Development Society, a state government agency, found that more than 80 percent of Kendrapada Sheep give birth to multiple offsprings in the same delivery with 71 percent giving birth to twins, nine percent to triplets and one percent to quadruplets.

Dash said that he is now working on Raighar and Ghumusari, to give them national recognition as indigenous breeds of Odisha. (IANS)

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