Worried over the soaring popularity of the state’s indigenous cow breed, Punganur cow, abroad and the unabated smuggling of its embryo to foreign countries, the State Biodiversity Board(APSBB) plans to write to the central excise department requesting it to add the embryo of Punganur cow to the list of banned materials.
APSBB, in its annual report, says there are only 150 Punganur cows remaining in the state _ there were more than 20,000 a couple of years ago _ pushing it into list of endangered species.
“We receive requests from Australia, England, Brazil and others for the genes to develop high-yielding hybrid varieties. Since we (both APSBB and the National Biodiversity Authority of India) are not giving the requisite permissions, smuggling through airports and seaports is on the rise,” R.Hampaiah, chairman of AP State Biodiversity Board, told Express.
According to him, there is no mechanism at present to check illegal export of embryos.
“People are not aware of the qualities of the milk of this desi cow. They have been sending these cows to slaughterhouses thinking they are a burden,” said Hampaiah, adding, “though they give only around one or 1.5 litres of milk, the fat content is around 8 per cent compared to just 3.5 per cent fat in the milk from exotic breeds.”
The desi cow, found only in Chittoor district, is sold around `60,000. But, Hampaiah says, celebrities have realised the value of the cow, are buying it for anything over Rs 6 lakh. “The milk of Punganur cow has medicinal value.