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Deccani Sheep in Goa: Challenges of the Dhangar Nomads



  Jun 18, 2024

Deccani Sheep in Goa: Challenges of the Dhangar Nomads



Overview

Recently, large flocks of Deccani sheep, managed by the nomadic Dhangar community, have been spotted grazing in Goa’s fields. The Dhangars migrate seasonally from Karnataka and Maharashtra, reflecting a traditional pastoral lifestyle that relies on local farmers for grazing and fertilization. However, the movement of these food animals has implications for food security and disease spread.

Key Points

Pastoral Lifestyle:

• The Dhangar community practices a traditional pastoral lifestyle, migrating seasonally with their sheep.

• They rely on local farmers, who allow their sheep to graze on fallow fields in exchange for fertilization from sheep dung.

Implications of Migration:

• The movement of sheep can impact food and nutrition security.

• There is a risk of spreading diseases such as Fasciolosis, caused by liver fluke parasites commonly found in sheep.

Economic and Cultural Impact:

• The Dhangars play a vital role in the rural economy by providing penning services, contributing to agricultural productivity.

• Their presence in Goa is a rare sight, as the state is more known for its seafood, pork, and beef dishes rather than mutton.

Environmental and Health Concerns:

• Climate change and poor rainfall have pushed the Dhangars to seek new pastures, often uncharted, leading to increased risks of disease spread.

• The One Health approach, a multi-sectoral strategy, can help address these challenges by integrating the health of people, animals, and ecosystems.

One Health Approach:

• This approach emphasizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health.

• Collaboration among government departments, veterinary bodies, public health organizations, and the Dhangars is essential for effective implementation.

Conclusion:

• Addressing the hardships of the Dhangar community and their Deccani sheep can prevent disease spread and ensure food security.

• Adopting the One Health approach requires capacity building at local, state, regional, national, and global levels.



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