Monday, August 10, 2009

Siri cows face threat of extinction

JALPAIGURI, 9 AUG: The state government has finally taken note of the 'Siri’ breed of cows which are at risk of extinction.
The district executive officer of Paschim Banga Go-Sampad Bikash Sanstha, Dr Prasanta Bera said the chief executive officer of the PBGSBS, Dr Dilip Das has drawn attention of the department in the Union ministry emphasizing on the need to take prompt measures in this direction.
“The Siri breed is the only indigenous species of cows, which has a scientific nomenclature, but the species is fast heading towards extinction due to massive cross breeding with other productive cattle species like Sahiwal, Jersey etc. I have done some research on the reasons leading to the dwindling number of the particular species and also posted the matter to the higher officials,” said Dr Bera.
Earlier, such cows were seen in large numbers in Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts. But cross breeding experiment to increase milk yield has brought the number down to a precarious 2000.
"The situation is growing alarming and if the trend continues, the species would get exterminated in the next five years or so," Dr Bera added.
After from studying the origin of the species, he along with the head of department of Biotechnology in Assam University, Dr Sankar Ghosh is working to develop a genetic mapping of the species.
“We are working together for a project report on the extinction threat of the species. We want to convince the Centre on the urgency of the preservation of this breed,” he stated.
Dr Bera, however, said the Sikkim government was taking steps to help preserve this species of cows.
"The Sikkim government has put up a ‘Siri Bull Rearing Unit’ at Ralong in Sikkim and is distributing Siri bulls among the villagers to facilitate its fast reproduction,” he added.