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Farming and biodiversity of pigs in Bhutan

  • K. Nidup (a1) (a2), D. Tshering (a3), S. Wangdi (a4), C. Gyeltshen (a5), T. Phuntsho (a5) and C. Moran (a1)...

Summary

Pigs have socio-economic and cultural importance to the livelihood of many Bhutanese rural communities. While there is evidence of increased religious disapproval of pig raising, the consumption of pork, which is mainly met from imports, is increasing every year. Pig development activities are mainly focused on introduction of exotic germplasm. There is an evidence of a slow but steady increase in the population of improved pigs in the country. On the other hand, indigenous pigs still comprise 68 percent of the total pig population but their numbers are rapidly declining. If this trend continues, indigenous pigs will become extinct within the next 10 years. Once lost, this important genetic resource is largely irreplaceable. Therefore, Government of Bhutan must make an effort to protect, promote and utilize indigenous pig resources in a sustainable manner. In addition to the current ex situ conservation programme based on cryopreservation of semen, which needs strengthening, in situ conservation and a nucleus farm is required to combat the enormous decline of the population of indigenous pigs and to ensure a sustainable source of swine genetic resources in the country.

Les porcs ont une importance socio-économique et culturelle pour les moyens d'existence de nombreuses communautés rurales du Bhoutan. Bien qu'il existe des preuves de la désapprobation croissante de la religion pour ce qui est de l'élevage des porcs, la consommation de leur viande, principalement satisfaite par l'importation, augmente chaque année. Les activités de mise en valeur des porcs sont surtout concentrées sur l'introduction de matériel génétique exotique. Certaines indications montrent un accroissement lent mais régulier de la population de porcs améliorés dans le pays. D'autre part, les porcs indigènes représentent encore 68 pour cent du total de la population porcine, mais ils sont en baisse rapide. Si cette tendance se poursuit, les porcs indigènes seront disparus d'ici dix ans. Une fois perdue, cette ressource génétique importante est en grande partie irremplaçable. Par conséquent, le Gouvernement du Bhoutan doit faire des efforts pour protéger, promouvoir et utiliser de façon durable les ressources des porcs indigènes. Pour lutter contre la baisse considérable de la population de porcs indigènes et pour assurer dans le pays une source durable de ressources génétiques porcines, il est nécessaire d'organiser, en plus du renforcement du programme en cours de conservation ex situ basé sur la cryoconservation du sperme, la conservation in situ et une exploitation de base.

Los cerdos tienen importancia socio-económica y cultural para el sustento de muchas comunidades rurales de Bután. Si bien existen evidencias de que ha aumentado la desaprobación religiosa de la cría de cerdos, el consumo de su carne, que es principalmente conocido por las importaciones, crece cada año. El desarrollo de actividades relacionadas con el cerdo se centra principalmente en la introducción de germoplasma exótico. Se ha constatado un aumento lento pero constante de la población de cerdos mejorados en el país. Por otra parte, los cerdos autóctonos siguen constituyendo el 68 percent de la población porcina total, pero su número está disminuyendo rápidamente. Si esta tendencia continúa, los cerdos pertenecientes a poblaciones locales se extinguirán en los próximos diez años. Una vez perdido, este importante recurso genético es en gran parte insustituible. Por lo tanto, el Gobierno de Bután debe hacer un esfuerzo para proteger, promover y utilizar los recursos porcinos autóctonos de manera sostenible. Además del actual programa de conservación ex situ, basado en la crioconservación de semen que es preciso reforzar la conservación in situ y el establecimiento de un núcleo de producción, necesario para combatir la enorme disminución de la población de cerdos autóctonos y para asegurar una fuente sostenible de recursos genéticos en la especie porcina en el país.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: K. Nidup, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Australia. email: k_nidup@yahoo.com; knidup@gmail.com

References

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Keywords

Farming and biodiversity of pigs in Bhutan

  • K. Nidup (a1) (a2), D. Tshering (a3), S. Wangdi (a4), C. Gyeltshen (a5), T. Phuntsho (a5) and C. Moran (a1)...

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