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Rare cattle species identified

By G. Prabhakaran

The High Range dwarf cattle identified from the 120-strong cattle herd of Chellamma and Thankamma at Elappully in Palakkad district.

PALAKKAD, OCT. 23. The unique High Range dwarf cattle species that was believed extinct has been identified from a120-strong cattle herd reared by a family at Mannukkad near Elappully, close to the Kanjikode industrial belt, near here.

The 40 High Range dwarf cattle that have been identified are owned by Chellamma and Thankamma. Their house is surrounded by paddy fields on three sides and the Korayar river on the fourth side. The inaccessibility of the area must have helped the two to retain the natural purity of this rare breed of cattle.

The High Range dwarf cattle have unique characteristics when compared with other genetic groups such as Vechur, Kasaragod and Vadakara cows.


The High Range dwarf variety measures only 100 cm in height and 90 cm in length at the age of one year. Most of the animals are small in size with a very small head. It is probably the smallest cattle variety after Vechur.

A small-sized hump and medium-sized dwlap are its special features. The naval flap is very small. The ear of the High Range dwarf cattle measures only 20 cm. The colour of the animal varies from shades of red to grey.

A special feature of the cattle is that it is hornless. The milk of High Range dwarf cattle has high medicinal value and can withstand the high temperatures that Palakkad experiences during summer. It is fed only with green grass and requires no concentrates such as oil cakes, rice brawn or other cattle feeds. It yields two-and-a half to three litres of milk every day. The milk has very good fat percentage.

Nearly 80 per cent of the total expense on the animal is for food, 10 per cent for artificial insemination and the remaining for treatment of diseases. Chellamma and Thankamma do not spend anything on food for their 120 heads of cattle since they are let free to graze. The animals are housed in open sheds and no money is spent on their artificial insemination. The animals are not prone to contagious diseases and expenditure on that count is also minimal.

Chellamma and Thankamma used to sell 15 to 20 animals every year. But in the past year, these have been identified by experts in genetic studies as being the High Range dwarf cattle.


Dr. Shudhodanan, senior veterinary surgeon, Government Veterinary Hospital, Elappuly, told The Hindu that the National Agriculture Technology Project (NATP) on Animal Genetic Resources Diversity has shown keen interest in the discovery of this species and asked for a detailed report, which he has submitted.

He has also submitted a detailed report to Kerala Agricultural University regarding where to locate the High Range dwarf cattle so that steps to develop it can be undertaken.

Since 40 animals - 24 male and 16 female - have been identified, it will be easy to breed pure variety of this cattle as had been done by the University in the case of Vechur cow, another endangered species found in parts of Central Travancore, Dr. Shudhodanan said.

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