Leh in Union Territory of Ladakh is the only place where one can see double hump camels in India. This species of camel known as Bactrian Camel is the only living remnant of India’s connection with famous silk route and Ladakh as the link of this ancient trade route.
AIR, Leh is celebrating 50 years on 25th of this month and on this occasion, here is a story by AIR Leh Correspondent how the Animal Husbandry Department of Ladakh has stepped up to preserve it from the threat of extinction in the country.
Double Hump Camel was heavy load carrier of the Silk Route Traders. However, with the closure of the route in 1950s and introduction of modern transport facilities, this tough camel once become stray animal and remained abandoned by its owners. As they lost attention, population fell to mere 64 in 2003 and 2004.
With the intervention of Animal Husbandry Department, it is now a treasure for breeders as it is one of the main tourist attraction for camel safari on Sand Dunes of Nubra. The Conservation efforts by the Animal Husbandry with financial support of the Centre and Technical guidance of National Institute of Camel Research, Bikaner has paved the way for growth in its population from mere 64 in 2004 to 298 in 2020.
The Department is also running a farm for its research studies at Chushot in Leh. After successful conservation of the species, department has started working on its wool to create income for the breeders during the off season of tourism. The Breeders through formation of Self Help Groups are encouraged to manufacture products from Camel wool.
As per latest census, there are 298 Bactrian Camels in number in Leh district and whole country. To preserve it, some activities are being carrying out. It is commercial now for camel riding at Sand Dune, Nobra. Eight to10 camels are kept for research studies at farm. Under skill development, the department is working on its two types of fur. Bactrian camels are cultural heritage of historic silk route trade. They’re part of Ladakhi’s culture. Rhythmic ride on double humped camels on sand dunes is a memorable experience.