Vechur Cattle were on the verge of extinction in the 80’s. Many thought that they were extinct. But it had been due to the efforts of an enthusiastic team of students led by Dr.Sosamma Iype, Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics that the available Vechur were brought to limelight as a result of an ardent search that lasted for months.
The core team consisted of Anil Zacharia, N.Jayadevan, Jayan.K.C. and Jayan Joseph, O.Kuriachan. Others like Ravi Sankar, Ajithkumar, Santhosh, Arun Zacharia, Justin Jacob Adhikaram, Vinod, Sathishkumar, Anilkumar.T.K., Saji Joseph, Sunil G. and many others contributed in the search. Vasudevan Namboodiri was a person who had a longing for conserving these animals.The search was started from Vechur and local support was immense. The positive attitude of Kaitharan Narayana Iyer and Veterinary Officer Raveendran instilled optimism in the team. Radhakrishnan J. was one who joined the team subsequently.
An extensive survey has been made through Kerala. Animal Husbandry institutions, Dairy co-operative units, local libraries, Schools, Voluntary organisations and other institutions were contacted. Regular help was received from all these corners.
The “Save Vechur” campaign and the network so formed was very effective.The spotting of a Vechur cow with Manoharan, a toddy tapper of Ullala was the exciting first step in the conservation. Next cow was from Onamthuruth. A cow with typical Vechur characteristics was purchased from Thalayolapparampu. Dr.Sivasankara Panicker was another Veterinarian who helped the team. The animal purchased and brought to the Veterinary Hospital, Thalayolapparampu ran back all the way to its owners house 5 kms Away.
The Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) accepted the proposal for conservation of Vechur submitted by Dr.Sosamma Iype. The then Dean Dr.Radhakrishna Kaimal heartily supported. Vice Chancellor Dr.E.G.Silas was a guardian to the scheme. The University purchased the animals spotted. The cleaning of the premises and cleaning of an old shed to house the animals were done mostly by the students especially the junior most in the year 1989. Dr.M.S Nair and Dr.K.Pavithran were the two other scientists involved in the purchase of animals.
The Vechur Conservation Unit came into existence in Kerala Agricultural University with 4 cows, 1 heifer, 2 bull calves and a bull. The searching for animals continued by the team and 24 animals could be added to the lot in one year. The team continued its support for the conservation unit in Kerala Agricultural University. In the meantime, few field units could be established.
By 1998, the animals in the Kerala Agricultural University Unit multiplied and could sell out about 30 animals for establishing some field units. These units receive required inputs like semen and technical advice from Kerala Agricultural University.
People have taken up the Conservation of Vechur cattle very enthusiastically. They are proud to keep the cow. More than that many are interested in having a cow that will yield milk sufficient for home consumption and which does not demand a sophisticated management.
This Conservation is the outcome of a collaboration of the Agricultural University, its students and the public. Any conservation can be successful only with the people’s involvement.