Endangered indigenous cattle breeds of Nigeria a case for their conservation and management
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The Nigeria cattle breeds and their productivity were reviewed. A case was made for their conservation and management, an action plan was also proposed for the Nigerian government. The indigenous cattle breeds of Nigeria have short calving interval, are hardy and trypanotolerant, known for early maturity with low mortality rate for total herd (2% and 4.7% for Muturu and Keteku respectively). The Kuri has high potentials for milk production and can calve up to twelve times in life time. They also have enormous contribution to source of income to many cattle rearers in Nigeria. The indigenous cattle breeds of Nigeria are endangered. The Muturu, N’dama and Keteku are endangered due to extensive uncontrolled crossbreeding with exotic breeds. There is also waning interest among farmers in the use of intact indigenous breeds. The Kuri and Biu cattle breeds are endangered due primarily to environment factors. The civil war also had a significant effect on the elimination of some indigenous cattle breeds especially the forest breeds. The endangered indigenous cattle breed can be conserved by the In-situ techniques. The cost of maintenance of the insitu preservation is often high, but it is to be preferred because it is less technically involving and can be well manage given adequate technologies and funds. The inbreeding effect and maintenance of natural habitat can be reduce by use of appropriate mating system and preservation of the original environment. The live conservation techniques can be organise into park with wild life for revenue generation. Rural farming communities can also be organize to form National indigenous cattle breed ownership Scheme (NICABROS), as a community based conservation management technology are action plans that are propose for insitu conservation of Nigerian endangered cattle breeds.
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