AUTHOR: DR RAZIQ
I’m PhD in Animal Agriculture, currently working as a Technical Manager at Al Ain Dairy (Camel Farm), Alain, UAE. I had worked as a Professor and Dean, at the Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences Pakistan (LUAWMS). I work on and write for the subjects of ‘turning camel from a beast of burden to a sustainable farm animal’, agricultural research policies, extensive livestock production systems, food security under climate change context, and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture. I’m the founder and head of the Society of Animal, Veterinary and Animal Scientists (SAVES), Founder of the Camel Association of Pakistan and Organizer of the Group Camel4Life. I also work as a freelance scientist working (currently member of steering committee) for Desert Net International (DNI).
In Balochistan province of Pakistan, there are many livestock species which are well adapted to the climatic conditions and produce a very much low-input livestock production models. Unfortunately, local livestock breeds are never discussed and document earlier by scientists with the perspectives and breeding goals of the keepers. Such poor documentation always smooth-tongued the way for dilution of the pure genetic makeup of the indigenous livestock breeds.
Balochistan is home to many precious livestock breeds and animal culture. Each tribe has its own grazing lands and adopted their own way of livestock production system. Poor documentation always misleads policymakers which resulting in deterioration of the breeds. It is the utmost need of time to characterize and document local AnGR with the perspectives of local livestock keepers while keeping their breeding goals in mind.
Dromacity Sahara Tunisia made the show.
The Sahara International Festival of Douz, took place this year from January 13th to 16th, on the theme “Desert festival, cultural and touristic heritage”
Founded in 1910, this festival is one of the most famous festivals celebrating the Nomad and Saharian culture at an international level. Many Tunisian and neighbour’s countries troops, as well as, many tourists and visitors attend each year the event to discover the festival and the city of Douz, surnamed the “Desert gates”.
Led by Tarek Ben Aoun de Zaafrane, Dromacity Sahara Tunisia President, the association has been a very good competitor. With a team who distinguished itself in speed races (1,5km) and marathon (42km).
Tarek Ben Aoun is attending the festival since 1990, he is one of the pillars of the event’s organization. He aims to improve his results year after year to make Tunisia win the first place, as Algeria always performs very well in this kind of competition with well qualified meharis who always reach the Top 10.
Algeria is the competitor to equal and exceed. To do so, one of the priorities of Dromacity Sahara Tunisia is to improve camels’ physical conditions thanks to better care and hygiene and a better adapted nutrition.
Regular trainings are also planned 2 or 3 months before the event.
Dromacity Sahara Tunisia represents proudly its country but also the Dromacity.org organisation
The Association’s ambitions are to travel around, at national and international level, with training projects which might create profitable activities for camels farmers and owners.
Camels’ training center for camels, Tunisian special breed for race development, those projects and many others are in study.
The association supports also sport and cultural values linked to meharist world as bravery, endurance, mutual assistance, knowledge sharing.
This fundamental ethic, associated to bigger visibility are big assets which encourage our future sponsors and partners to support DromaCity.
Welcome to them in the camel’s world…
Camels have long been a valued part of Middle Eastern culture thanks to their hardiness and, in particular, their ability to remain active even when little water is available.
In conditions that would defeat creatures such as horses, tough-as-old-boots camels can just keep on going.
But the value they have brought to humankind has, for a long time, extended beyond lugging around loads and carrying people from place to place.
Their milk has been drunk by people since as far back as 5,000 years ago and, thanks to its ready availability in supermarkets here, many UAE residents enjoy a glass or two with their meals.
Those who drank camel milk in past millennia were onto a good thing, because modern-day science has shed light on a host of health benefits associated with its consumption.
Many of these are detailed in a recent review article in the Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture, entitled Therapeutic Potential of Camel Milk, by researchers from India’s Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani (BITS Pilani). The involvement of scientists from India is appropriate because, just as camel milk has long been a favourite in the Gulf region, so it is drunk by some traditional communities in South Asia.
One of the key illnesses camel milk has been shown to be effective against is diabetes, a particular problem in the Gulf because of poor diets and sedentary lifestyles.
Camel milk has been shown, said the review’s senior author, Dr Uma S Dubey, of BITS Pilani’s Rajasthan campus, to be effective in reducing the level of glycosylated or glycated haemoglobin in the blood. This is haemoglobin to which glucose is attached, and is typically found at high levels in people with diabetes. Camel milk can therefore be used to reduce the dose of insulin that diabetes patients require.
“This is because camel milk has been shown to contain an insulin-like molecule," said Dr Dubey.
“Diabetes is a disease in which the therapeutic potential of camel milk can be maximally utilised. It has well-observed clinical benefits."
It is no wonder then that, as the authors of the review note, epidemiological surveys indicate that there is a low prevalence of diabetes in communities where camel milk is consumed.
Another important issue concerns the immune system. Human milk contains a variety of immunological substances that can help to protect babies from infection, with studies showing that a breast-fed baby can receive up to 1g of the main type of antibody in human milk, secretory immunoglobulin A, each day.
Camel milk, too, contains large quantities of antibodies that, similarly, can help to protect against infection. Enzymes it contains, such as lysozyme and lactoperoxidase, are likely to help combat bacterial infections.
There are also dietary reasons why drinking camel milk makes sense. It has a high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that can lower the concentration in the blood of harmful forms of cholesterol. Camel milk is also high in mineral content and contains significant amounts of certain types of vitamins. It has also been shown to reduce lactose intolerance, combat hepatitis and decrease kidney and liver damage due to alcohol.
So it is no wonder that Dr Dubey “certainly" recommends that people regularly drink camel milk to maintain good health, although she cautions that unpasteurised “pooled milk" from multiple camels could pose health risks because of unidentified microbes.
“Fresh milk from a healthy camel undoubtedly has multiple nutritional and health benefits," she said.
However, camel milk is, as of now, perhaps being underutilised as a therapeutic agent. Dr Dubey notes that, in terms of its medical benefits, it is typically used “only at a local level and on the basis of traditional knowledge".
The Marwar Camel Culture Festival celebrates Rajasthan's
camel heritage, showcases camel products and services and, most importantly,
provides a forum for debate on the future of the camel, and forging partnerships and projects to
promote the camel.
The camel has been an integral part of life in the Arabian peninsula, and elsewhere, for thousands of years, but their potential is yet to be fully realised, says Dr Abdul Raziq Kakar.
The technical manager for Al Ain Dairy’s camel farm, he has launched Camel4Life, a group to promote the use of camels by the world’s poorer communities, and to give traditional producers an international voice.
“Camels ensure life and livelihood in far and wide regions of the world,” Dr Kakar said. “They ensure access and transportation in harsh terrains of the globe and walk for almost 40 kilometres [a day], graze on scarce and scattered woody vegetation, which is otherwise wasted, and convert it to precious food items like milk and meat.”
Dr Kakar, who is also founder of the Camel Association of Pakistan, credited camel milk with relieving his arthritis more than a decade ago, when he was advised to drink it by a tribal elder.
“I went to a camel county of the Sulaiman mountainous region of Pakistan, lived with the camel herders, walking and moving as they, camel pastoralists, changed settlement so often.
“Taking camel milk and eating simple food made me healthy and strong,” he said. The group’s slogan is: “Promoting the use of the camel as a worldwide livelihood for millions of people, and a livestock species resilient to climate change”.
The camel’s abilities could, the organisation said, make it vital in areas that suffer climatic disruption due to global warming. Yet, despite their value, the animals face challenges. For example, the area given over to them for grazing in India and Pakistan is said to be falling, there has been mass killing of feral camels in Australia, and the creatures have been linked to the spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers).
Dr Kakar has secured the support of other specialists, among them Dr Ursula Windberger, an associate professor and veterinary surgeon at the Medical University of Vienna’s Department of Biomedical Research.
“We want to support the use of camelids as productive livestock that are used extensively in countries with harsh environments – this is our primary goal,” she said.
Dr Windberger hoped one of Camel4Life’s first projects will be to introduce camels to a village in Assam, north-east India.
The organisation also wants to promote the voices of camel herders in international forums.
It said their views were not often heard amid a focus on modern husbandry.
Millions of pastoralists and nomads depend on camels, and their herds are vital resources of genetic variation.
“I shall use all my worth and potential to promote and use [the organisation] for the betterment of camel herders and the camel itself,” Dr Kakar said.
I born in semi-pastoral agrarian family. I'am blessed with folk knowledge of Eco-friendly and green livestock agriculture. This system ensures food and livelihood in marginalized regions of the world. Such unique background prompts me to get modern education and training in animal agriculture. I joined University of Agriculture Faisalabad (the leading institute in the region) and gained a wide based education on animal agriculture up to PhD level.
After completion educational programs, I realized the importance of native livestock breeds of livestock. I composed a new module of native breeds’ characterization, documentation and reporting. To visualize unique role of native breeds and breeders, concepts of BCP and LKR was introduced. Such concepts became powerful tools for the communities in protection of their rights and share in policy making.
I have been invited by many national/international bodies and organization as key speaker and resource person to discuss the issues like camel, small-scale farming, community based livestock conservation, desertification, biodiversity, food security, livelihood, climate change and endogenous livestock development.
I assist in making decisions, as voluntary consultant, for SAVES, CAP, DNI, ISOCARD and LIFE Network. I am a member of the Editorial boards of well reputed international science journals.
I completed a unique study on milk production, Kohi camel (mobile herds) and worked out lactation curve in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. These studies were ground-breaking; no-one had estimated the production of mobile camel herds previously. I worked as Professor and Dean FVASC Lasbela University. I am lucky enough being Technical Operation manager in a modern camel dairy unit.
Specialities: Modern Camel Dairying
Turning camel from a beast of burden to a sustainable farm animal
Community-based breeding management, Biodiversity and climate change,
Ethnoveterinary, IK and Natural Healing
Rangelands and pastoralism
World's first cloned camel is pregnant: Calf could prove that cloned creatures can be fertile and reproduce normally Cloned camel was born in 2009 and called Inzaz, which means achievementShe was cloned from ovarian cells and born by surrogate motherInjaz is now six years old and is said to have conceived naturally She's expected to give birth late this year, proving cloned animals' fertility
The world’s first cloned camel is pregnant scientist claim.
The mother-to-be, whose name is Injaz, was cloned from the ovarian cells of a slaughtered camel in 2009 and born from a surrogate mother.
Injaz was six years old this week and is said to have conceived naturally.
Getting up at the crack of dawn isn’t usually my cup of tea, but this morning we have to track (so I think) camel-herdingnomads in the Thar, I wake up without an alarm. We are in Sadri, a small town halfway between Jodhpur and Udaipur in Rajasthan. In the shadow of Kumbhalgarh, it’s a sleepy desert town with starry nights and blisteringly hot days. My host, Hanwant Singh Rathore, director of Lohit Pashu-Palak Sansthan (LPPS) — an organisation working to preserve the right of pastoralist people, tells me that the Raikas, the camel-herding tribe of Rajasthan, are in danger of losing their traditional way of life. I ask how, and he says I’ll soon see for myself.
As we drive through dusty scrub and sand, a slight movement causes my perspective to shift. Perfectly camouflaged in the sand is a herd of hundred camels (99 females and one
lucky stud, I’m told). The animals lie gently as they nestle against each other in the morning light. Minding them is Bhanwarlal Raika. Every year, he walks his herd in search
of pastures while his family stays near Sadri. “I return when the rains begin,” says he. All his worldly belongings are packed in his tightly coiled red turban — while we
talk, he pulls out his phone, lunch, opium stash, even a notebook from it. Bhanwarlal cuts a dashing figure with his long earrings and macho moustache, not unlike the single
male camel in his herd. I ask how he manages so many animals and he grins, “I just let the stud lead… the females follow automatically!”
Earlier, farmers invited herders to camp in their freshly-harvested fields. Their camels not only cleared the fields for the next crop, but also fertilised the soil with their dung. “Every year,” says he, “I find myself walking further and further in search of pasture. Nowadays, I have to go as far as Madhya Pradesh.”
In my line of work, I hear stories all the time. Recently, when I was in Sadri, a Rajasthani village, I heard a tale I’ve recounted many times about a Raika healer’s incredible diagnostic skills. It is, however, so extraordinary that I don’t know whether to believe it or not.
But before I begin the story, let me give you some background information on the Raika. They are nomadic animal herders from Rajasthan and Gujarat. Living as they do in the desert, they probably come in contact with more animals than humans (and what’s wrong with that, you might say, but that’s another story). This proximity has taught the Raika to read their animals with ease and accuracy. It is said that they can deduce the animal’s state of health, well being and parentage by just looking at its footprints. “The Raika can often tell the gender, age, whether it’s pregnant or not and many more details simply from its footprints,” said our host Hanwant Singh of Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan (LPPS), who has worked closely with the community for over a decade.
A Raika herder Bhanwar Singh, who was camping near Sadri, told us what else you can make out from footprints. “Camels’ faces are like human faces to me,” he said, “I see them once and never forget them!” The beasts, contentedly chewing thorny brush, all looked identical to me. But I was willing to take his word for it. Bhanwar Singh went on: “I can not only recognise an adult camel I last saw as an infant, but in the most of the cases I can also tell who his mother is likely to be!”
Not surprisingly, Raika animal healers are respected members of the community, for they take care of them. They are the mainstay of the Raika economy. They’ve been known to miraculously cure ailments with herbs, clay and plants found in the desert, where modern medicine has failed. Which brings us to my story … finally.
Apparently, one of the most effective diagnostic tools Raika healers use is urine. By smelling a ball of the wet sand where an ailing animal has urinated, it is said that the healer can deduce what the animal is suffering from, whether it has any deficiencies and certainly, whether it is pregnant or not. Apparently, a group of vets once visited a Raika healer, and were understandably peeved, not only with how effectively the healer was able to cure difficult diseases, but also by the ease and accuracy of her diagnosis. When they discovered that the diagnosis was made by sniffing wet sand, their disbelief (and probably no small measure of professional jealousy) grew even further. Wanting to confound the Raika healer by hook or by crook, they procured samples of human urine from a nearby pathology lab. Both samples examined were of females, one pregnant and one with no apparent health problem.
They asked the healer to deduce what she could from the two samples. The healer solemnly poured the first sample onto some sand, kneaded it into a ball, and sniffed. “This is from a woman, not a camel,” she said. “What else?” the vets demanded. “She’s pregnant,” the healer diagnosed. The vets, quite unable to figure out how she’d done it, gave her the other sample. The healer repeated her sniffing routine. Then she said: “This is also from a woman, but she isn’t pregnant,” she said. “What else?” the vets demanded to know again. The healer sniffed the wet sand in her palm again: “She’s in the pink of health —– no illnesses, no deficiencies…,” she said reflectively, “but she’s had a lot of kadhi for lunch!”