Spatial and temporal distribution of donkey and mule population in India
Keywords:Donkeys, Mules, Equines, Population, India, Census
The donkeys and mules are members of the Equidae family. Spiti, Halari and Kachchhi are registered breeds of donkeys in India. They are well acclimatized to the different agro-climatic conditions to which they belong. Donkeys and mules constitute about 37% of the total Indian equine population and play multifarious roles in human life, especially for the poorest of the poor section of society. They are mainly reared by underprivileged and weaker communities of the society and used for various purposes like transportation of goods, farm produces, pack animals at brick kilns, transportation of garbage, building materials and by nomadic pastoralists etc. The severe decreasing trend observed in Livestock Census elicited us to understand the present status of donkeys and mules. The total donkey and mule populations decreased by 61.23% and 57.10%, respectively in 2019 over the last census. This can be due to their decreased working utility, as alternate economic sources of mechanization are available. Further, motorized vehicles are replacing donkeys and mules in plains and hilly regions where there is a road network. Presently, donkeys and mules are more in rural area than urban area of the country, indicating their utility still exists among rural masses and rural transport depends on these equids. The density of mules is high in the hilly states of India, indicating their utility in difficult hilly terrains.
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