Agri - Kaleidoscope - Animal Genetic Resources of North Eastern Hill Region of India
Dr. G. Kadirvel, Sr. Scientist, Animal Production
India holds major shares in terms of both the number of breeds and total number of live stocks in the world. There are 129 registered breeds of livestock and poultry in India besides many uncharacterized breeds/populations of many species. This diversity of domesticated livestock and poultry breeds was developed due to years of evolution within specific ecological niche as a result of adaptation selection to meet the local needs.
North East hilly region of India is home to diverse animal genetic resources including cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, pigs, equines, yaks, mithuns, etc. The total livestock population in the region is around 21 millions, out of which cattle and buffaloes constitute about 11.49 millions and 0.84 million respectively. Among the small ruminants, about 4.37 millions of goats and 0.23 million of sheep are found in this region.
As the people of this region are predominantly non-vegetarians, pig rearing is also very popular in most of the North Eastern states with a population of about 3.82 millions. Apart from these traditional livestock species, NEH region also possess bovines like mithuns and yaks in good numbers viz. 2, 54,000 and 16,000 head respectively. Most of the livestock populations of different species in the NEH region are non-descript type. However, several breeds/populations native to this region are also found which include one cattle breed (Siri), three buffalo populations (Assamese, Manipuri and Sikamese), two sheep breeds (Banpala, Tibetan), one goat population (Assamese hill goat), two chicken population (Miri, Chittagong), two duck populations (Nageshwari, Pati/Desi), two pig breeds (Ghungroo, Dome), one equine breed (Manipuri), two yak populations (Arunachali, Sikkim) and two mithun populations (Arunachali and Nagami).