The Pulikulam is a popular draught and game breed of Tamil Nadu. The cattle originated from Pulikulam, a village located in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu. Though named after its village of origin, it is also known as Palingu maadu, Mani maadu, Jallikattu maadu, Mattu maadu and Kilakattu maadu.
It breeding tracts are found in the Madurai, Sivaganga and Virudhunagar districts of Tamil Nadu. The bulls are used for breeding for up to 10 years of age. Life span of the animals is around 20 years, with a total calving of 8-10. Milking is usually done only in 10-15% lactating cows in a herd, so as to meet the home consumption of herdsmen.
The Pulikulam breed of cattle are maintained as migratory herds, and its draught and manure capabilities play a significant role in the rural livelihood of the communities rearing them for draught and organic agricultural production. Almost ninety-nine per cent of the Pulikulam cattle is bred and maintained by the traditional cowherds – mainly the Konar and Thevar communities.
There has been an alarming decrease in the population of this breed. The year 2006 figures show a population of about 45000 whereas the year 2013 figures show a population of about 7500. Efforts to conserve this Indian breed should be stepped up though SEVA (Sustainable agriculture and Environmental Voluntary Action) – an institution specialising in conservation of native cattle breeds – in Madurai has been striving over the years for the protection of our native cattle breeds.
CowCare.org has accelerated its movement of conserving our native Indian breed of cattle.