This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
had more than one million camels during the middle of the nineteen nineties. But
the population of the animals known for their ability to travel far without
much water has fallen sharply. A group in Rajasthan state says India had only
six hundred thousand camels by two thousand five. Rajasthan has traditionally been
the area of the country with the most camels.
say there are different reasons for the decrease. India's camels have lost the use
of some traditional grasslands and forests because of development and climate
change. Courts have barred camels from grazing in national parks. This makes it
harder for their owners to feed them.
animal doctor Pradeep Singhal blames the decrease in camels mainly on the
influence of the outside world. The veterinarian says trucks and other modern
vehicles are taking the place of camels.
have served as an important form of transportation since ancient times. They
are known as "ships of the desert." They carry goods and people, and
they provide products including milk, skin, hair and bone. Some Indians eat
camel meat. And farmers can use camel waste to fertilize their crops.
But fewer camels than in the past were
traded at a recent camel fair in Pushkar, in Rajasthan. A strong camel can cost
about one thousand dollars. A group called the League of Pastoral Peoples says
fifty thousand camels were brought to the fair in two thousand four. This year,
there were seventeen thousand five hundred camels, horses and other animals at
Still, visitors could watch camel races and a contest to choose the
most beautiful camel. The animals are washed and decorated with bells and
Doctor Singhal works with a volunteer organization based
in Jaipur, Rajasthan, that helps people take care of their camels. The group is
called Help in Suffering. This charitable trust works for the benefit of the
animals of India. The group operates animal shelters. And it has been developing
a specialized camel rescue center, which it describes as the first of its kind
A camel weighs as much as eight hundred
kilograms. Ten to fifteen people are needed to lift a sick or injured camel
onto a truck. But the group has a new
ambulance with devices for lifting a camel to drive it to an animal hospital.
that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. Archives
of our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Bob Doughty.