Govt. bans artificial insemination of Thurupu cattle

Indigenous variety:Artificial insemination centres have been asked to stop cross-breeding of Thurupu cattle with other hybrid varieties.- Photo: By Arrangement  

The Telangana government has issued instructions stopping artificial insemination of ‘Thurupu’ cows, the Telangana State’s indigenous cattle variety, as a first step towards protecting the species from extinction.

The Animal Husbandry Department has directed the artificial insemination centres on the premises of its veterinary hospitals around Mannanur area of Amrabad forest reserve, to stop cross-breeding of Thurupu cattle with other hybrid varieties. The Thurupu variety is found only in Mannanur area of Nallamala forest hills, most often reared by local Lambada tribe and other communities.

There are an estimated 25,000 cattle surviving in the forest area, thus far not paid any attention to. The variety can be distinguished through its brown/red spots on white skin or white spots on light brown skin, and straight and sharp horns.

“We have passed instructions to our field-level staff against crossing this variety with other breeds, so that the purity of the breed is maintained. The bull is known for its hardiness as it can survive in dry climatic conditions,” said D. Venugopala Rao, Assistant Director (Farms) of the Animal Husbandry Department, on the sidelines of a meeting organised by the Telangana State Biodiversity Board, here on Wednesday.

The Board, in consultation with the department, is funding a project in three mandals of the Mahabubnagar, to identify and document the Phenotypical characteristics of the Thurupu bull, so that a claim may be pitched with the National Board for Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) for registration of the cattle variety and preservation of the germ-plasm.

Watershed Support Services and Activity Network (WASSAN), an NGO, has been deployed for data collection. A thousand cattle, including calves, young stock, adult cows, stud bulls and bullocks, will be selected from 100 cattle breeders, from 20 villages of the three mandals, for identification of physical markers.

“Details such as horn size, size of body spots, tail length, ear size, height, weight and length of the body will be recorded as part of the project, and averages will be arrived at for a prototype, before an application is submitted to the NBAGR. After registration of the bull as an indigenous variety, the NBAGR will do genome sequencing, and preserve the germ-plasm,” informed G. Sailu, the State project coordinator of the UNEP-GEF-MoEF ABS Project, Telangana State Biodiversity Board. Registration and geographical patenting of the bull will result in conservation and promotion of the variety by the Central government.

“Ongole Bull is being preserved and propagated in Brazil for meat, owing to its resistance to Mad Cow disease. The Thurupu bull too is a disease-resistant variety, and could begin to yield commercial returns for the breeders once patented. As a draught bull, its hoofs are suitable for treading in slush, which makes it extremely useful in paddy cultivation,” Mr. Sailu said.