The Ponwar cattle is an indigenous breed of India and is named after the place from where it has originated, viz: Ponwar in Puranpur Taluk in the Pilibhit district of Uttar Pradesh. Its breeding tract lies in the Pilibhit district of Uttar Pradesh. Its breeding tract is a plain area with majority of land area covered with forests. A few of this cattle are also found in the Lakhimpur-Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh.
Ponwar is mainly a draught breed and is carting and agricultural operations. The bullocks of this breed are quick and strong and are well suited for such operations. They are mostly used for light ploughing and carting. The bullocks can easily transport 800 to 100 kgs of load upto 10 kms and can plough one acre of land in six to eight hours.
This breed is also known as Purnea or Kabri (mixture of colours) and is said to have evolved from a mix of hilly cattle (Morang – Nepalese hill cattle) and plain land cattle. The animals are excellent at foraging, and excel under free grazing conditions. This breed is maintained by the Pasi and Yadav communities of Uttar Pradesh, while the Tharu tribe is mainly involved in rearing the pure breed Ponwar.
These animals are of a sturdy kind with rare occurrence of diseases amongst them. A peculiar characteristic of this breed is that they generally move in groups with their heads down, in between each other, due to fear from predators. They have a fiery disposition and are known to be very active and aggressive. They have remarkable speed and stamina.
These animals are maintained under the extensive management system, without provision of sheds. They are relatively tough to control. They are raised entirely on forest-land without any feed supplementation. These animals have been found to mature late. The cows of this breed are said to be fair milkers and the calves are allowed suckle the cows.
The population of this cattle breed has shrunk to less than 10,000 numbers in the entire breeding tract, mainly due to unplanned and unsystematic breeding. The current situation demands an urgent need for genetic management and conservation.
The castration and selling of male calves of 6 to 12 months age, for use in agricultural operations and transportation should be stopped immediately. Active planning and systematic breeding operations should commence without further delay so that this sturdy and locally adaptable draft breed can flourish.
The substantial amount of work done in most states through gaushalas and cooperatives must be promoted further in order to conserve our native breeds.
CowCare.Org continues it’s engagement with the movement of conserving the Indian breed of cattle.