For the Camels of Rajasthan, a Struggle for Survival – and Relevance -Aastha Maggu

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published Published on Jul 31, 2020   modified Modified on Aug 1, 2020

-The Wire Science

The camel is known popularly as the ship of the desert. But for all their resilience in the austere environs of the Thar desert, their numbers have plummeted in recent years. According to the 20th livestock census, released in 2019, there are some 2.5 lakh camels, down from the 4 lakh counted during the previous census in 2012. And this decline has environmentalists, policymakers and camel herders worried.

Rajasthan is home to 86% of India’s camels, and in this state, the raika is an indigenous pastoral community that has been rearing camels for generations. The raika believe they were created by Lord Shiva to attend to camels.

Herders’ increasing costs

The cost of maintaining camels has increased significantly. Herders today struggle to arrange for adequate fodder and veterinary care.

Traditional common property resources that served as the primary source for forage are in poor condition. Historically, indigenous species such as khejri, phog, ber, neem, babool, etc. were found in abundance in these lands, and they catered to camels’ needs. However, local agencies’ apathy towards these commons, and the recent reallocation of these grazing lands, reversed fortunes.

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The Wire Science, 31 July, 2020,

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