SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Geese, locally called Anz, have earned themselves the distinction of being the only ‘recognised’ breed of geese in India. This came to light after scientists from the SK University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) carried out extensive studies to identify and classify different breeds of geese.
The National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources in Haryana, the nodal agency to register livestock and poultry breeds in India, recently approved registration of nine new breeds of livestock, including the Kashmir Anz, which has now got an ‘Accession Number’: India_Geese_0700_Kashmir Anz_18001.
Dr Azmat Alam, Associate Professor and senior scientist at SKUAST’s Division of Livestock Production, along with Dr Henna Hamadani, Assistant Professor at LPM, MLRI, Manasbal, spearheaded the research that identified the Kashmir Geese as a separate breed.
Alam said that given the fact that no recognised breed of geese existed in India, the entry in the national bureau of genetic resources has given them satisfaction and recognition of their efforts.
Both Alam and Hamadani were recently felicitated by the Government of India for this documentation, characterisation, and registration of Kashmir Geese (Anz).
Alam said that geese do exist in Assam and Kerala states of India, but they are not recognised as a specific breed. He said the Anz had to be compared with Chinese and Egyptian breeds for its classification.
“Extensive studies was carried out to know about our domestic geese (scientific name Anser anser domesticus). The present study was conducted in three districts of Kashmir valley: Srinagar, Bandipore and Ganderbal, where they are mostly reared for eggs and meat,” Alam said.
“Initially we had to establish that the lot we studied qualified for geese or swans,” he said.
He said that geese-rearing areas in Kashmir were mostly along rivers and lakes. In all the three districts, geese-rearing areas were mainly confined to near water bodies like Wular lake, Manasbal lake, Anchar lake, river Sind, Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake.
District Bandipora had the maximum geese domestication, compared to Srinagar and Ganderbal, with farmers having small to medium flocks.
Alam said that while white-plumed flocks were preferred for domestication in Ganderbal, in Bandipora the preference was for cinnamon-coloured geese, while Srinagar preferred to rear mixed flocks.
He said that that the uniqueness of the Kashmir Geese is that they, unlike their Chinese counterparts, produce very less eggs. The Kashmir Geese produce only 12 eggs in a year, while the Chinese geese produce 80 eggs.
Alam said that further studies on this breed could help improve Kashmir’s valuable genetic resources and help in their conservation.