Kasaragod Dwarf breed of Kerala.
Ever heard of a cattle breed called Kasaragod Dwarf? No. Well, I am not surprised. I too hadn't heard of it till my colleague Dr G V Ramanjaneyulu of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) in Hyderabad brought it to my notice. He talked about how an Andhra Pradesh farmer was rearing this endangered breed, which is among the smallest cattle breeds in the world.
Some more research and I found out the Kasaragod Dwarf breed is a little taller than the world's smallest breed -- Vechur, also native to Kerala. With an average height of 90 cms, it can survive on kitchen waste and jungle feeds. Requiring about 2 kg of feed per day it's milk yield on an average hovers around 1 litre. The milk is nutritious, rich in alpha-2 casein proteins which means it is particularly useful for diabetic and hypertension patients.
Kasaragod Dwarf has still not been included in the list of India's 37 native cattle breeds that have been documented by the National Bureau for Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) Karnal, in Haryana.
A report published in Times of India (July 4, 2012) Kasaragod Dwarf cattle may get native animal status (Link: http://bit.ly/1iheJ5l) says: "The species has not entered the endangered list in a strict sense as the non-descript category of dwarf cattle found in the district are generally included under this category. As per latest cattle census, there are 36,717 non-descript category of cattle in Kasaragod. But, tracing a pure Kasargod breed will be difficult because of the extensive cross-breeding, says professor Sosamma. There are 34 recognised native varieties of cattle in India and Vechur cow is the only one included in the native list from Kerala."
A positive development is that Bela Cattle Farm in Badiadukka panchayat in Kerala is now being developed as a research centre under the Central Veterinary University to study, research and popularise this rare breed.
Further reading: Acclaimed abroad, despised at home