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Morphological characterization of Achai cattle in sedentary and transhumant systems in Pakistan

  • M. Saleem (a1), I. Rahim (a2), S. Jalali (a3), H. Rueff (a4) (a5), M. Khan (a1), D. Maselli (a2), U. Wiesmann (a5) and S. Muhammad (a1)...

Summary

Achai is an as yet undocumented but well-adapted cattle breed of the Hindu Kush Mountains of northern Pakistan, which is reared under sedentary farming system (SFS) and transhumant farming system (TFS). This paper compares the morphological (physical and morphometric) characteristics of this cattle breed under both farming systems to know the effect of these styles of management. Data were collected from 108 adult females and 108 males in SFS and 108 females and 36 males in TFS on physical characteristics (colour of the coat, horns, eyelashes, muzzle, hoof, switch) and morphometric measurements – i.e. heart girth, body length, height at withers, height at hipbone, face length, horn length, horn circumference, ear (length and width), neck length, dewlap length, chine length, loin length, rump (length and width), length below knee, hoof circumference, tail and switch length. Results showed that farming systems significantly affect most of the morphological characteristics of both sexes, particularly the morphometric measurements with tall and leggy conformation for TFS cows and bulls. This indicates an adaptation to long distance transhumance and mountain terrain grazing. It can be concluded that the Achai has the potential to adapt to the requirements of specific farming systems. There is hence a need for the conservation of its adaptive traits in both farming systems.

Pese a ser una raza bovina muy bien adaptada a las condiciones montañosas del macizo Hindu Kush en el norte de Pakistán, el ganado Achai sigue siendo un gran desconocido a día de hoy. La raza Achai es criada bajo un sistema ganadero estante (SGE) y un sistema ganadero trashumante (SGT). Este artículo compara las características morfológicas (físicas y morfométricas) de esta raza bovina bajo ambos sistemas ganaderos para conocer el efecto de estos tipos de manejo. Los datos fueron recogidos en 108 hembras adultas y 108 machos del SGE y en 108 hembras y 36 machos del SGT. Se tomaron datos de características físicas (color de la capa, de los cuernos, de las pestañas, del hocico, de las pezuñas y de la punta de la cola) y medidas morfométricas (perímetro torácico, longitud corporal, altura a la cruz, altura a la grupa, longitud de la cara, longitud y circunferencia de los cuernos, longitud y anchura de las orejas, longitud del cuello, longitud de la papada, longitud del tronco, longitud de los lomos, longitud y anchura de la grupa, longitud bajo las rodillas, circunferencia de las pezuñas, longitud de la cola y del mechón de pelo final). Los resultados mostraron que el sistema ganadero afecta significativamente a la mayoría de las características morfológicas de ambos sexos, en especial a las medidas morfométricas. Así, vacas y toros del SGT son animales altos con patas largas. Esta conformación refleja una adaptación a trashumancias de larga distancia y a un pastoreo en terrenos montañosos. Se puede concluir que el ganado Achai tiene potencial de adaptación a las necesidades de sistemas ganaderos específicos. Existe por tanto la necesidad de conservar los rasgos adaptativos de ambos sistemas de explotación.

Bien qu'elle soit une race bovine bien adaptée aux conditions montagneuses de la chaîne Hindu Kush du nord du Pakistan, la race Achai demeure encore de nos jours assez inconnue. Ces animaux sont élevés selon un système d'élevage sédentaire (SES) et un système d'élevage transhumant (SET). Cet article compare les caractéristiques morphologiques (physiques et morphométriques) de cette race bovine élevée selon les deux systèmes d'exploitation pour connaître l'effet de ces pratiques d'élevage. Les données ont été prélevées sur 108 femelles adultes et 108 mâles en SES et 108 femelles et 36 mâles en SET. Les suivantes caractéristiques physiques ont été évaluées: couleur de la robe, des cornes, des cils, du museau, des sabots et de la mèche de la queue, et les suivantes mesures morphométriques ont été prises: périmètre thoracique, longueur du corps, hauteur au garrot, hauteur à la croupe, longueur de la tête, longueur et circonférence des cornes, longueur et largeur des oreilles, longueur du cou, longueur du fanon, longueur du tronc, longueur de l'échine, longueur et largeur de la croupe, longueur sous le genou, circonférence des sabots, longueur de la queue et de la mèche finale. Les résultats ont montré que les systèmes d'élevage affectent de façon significative la plupart des caractéristiques morphologiques aussi bien des mâles que des femelles, l'effet étant particulièrement significatif pour les mesures morphométriques. Ainsi, il a été noté que les vaches et les taureaux du SET sont de grands animaux à longues pattes. Ceci reflète une adaptation à des transhumances sur de longues distances et au pâturage en terrain montagneux. Il peut être conclu que les bovins Achai ont du potentiel pour s'adapter aux besoins de systèmes d'élevage spécifiques. La conservation de ses traits adaptatifs s'avère donc nécessaire dans les deux systèmes d'élevage.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: M. Saleem, Directorate General (Extension) Livestock and Dairy Development Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar, Pakistan. email: saleemtalash@yahoo.com

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Keywords

Morphological characterization of Achai cattle in sedentary and transhumant systems in Pakistan

  • M. Saleem (a1), I. Rahim (a2), S. Jalali (a3), H. Rueff (a4) (a5), M. Khan (a1), D. Maselli (a2), U. Wiesmann (a5) and S. Muhammad (a1)...

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