Rajasthan government plans to accord state heritage status to the camel, even as it expressed concerns over the animal's depleting population, crucial for the desert state.
Taking serious note of slaughter and smuggling of the "ship of desert", the state is also contemplating legislation to protect the animal.
"Number of camels is decreasing rapidly due to slaughtering which is illegal. Saving the camel is important for peoples' livelihood and also for the desert eco-system. So we plan to declare the animal as state heritage," Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Lal Saini told PTI today.
He said the department has drafted a proposal in this regard which will be forwarded to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for approval.
"We also plan to bring legislation so that those smuggling and slaughtering of camel can be effectively checked," he said. "Existence of camel is under threat. The number has rapidly decreased in recent years. In 2007, the number of this domestic animal was over 4 lakh, which, at present, is below 2 lakh," he said.
The minister said the government would initiate steps for breeding of camel and research on camel milk in the future.
Also, attention will be given to improve grazing resources as shrinking grazing areas and modernisation have affected the lives of camels.
People mainly in western desert region of the state are closely associated with camel.