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https://doi.org/10.5713/ab.21.0020    [Accepted] Published online April 23, 2021.
Mithun (Bos frontalis): the neglected cattle species and their significance to ethnic communities in East Himalaya
Tashi Dorji1,*  , Jigme Wangdi2  , Yi Shaoliang1  , Nakul Chettri1  , Kesang Wangchuk1 
1International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, GPO Box: 326, Katmandu, Nepal
2Department of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture and Forest, Thimphu, Bhutan
Correspondence:  Tashi Dorji,Email: Kesang.Wangchuk@icimod.org
Received: 12 January 2021   • Revised: 26 February 2021   • Accepted: 22 March 2021
Abstract
This review consolidates the available information on the socio-economic and ecological significance of Mithun in the lives of ethnic communities. Standard guidelines were followed for the review and data collection was carried out at three stages; Literature search, Literature screening, and Literature review and analysis. Records indicate a long association of Mithun with the ethnic groups. Mithun serves as a symbol of pride and local currency for barter trade in the ethnic society. Its utilities range from being used as a bride price to settling legal disputes. Several cultural festivals and local ceremonies are celebrated around this bovine. Due to its semi-wild nature, this animal also has an ecological role to conserve broad leaf sub-tropical forests. However, it remains neglected and has not received policy attention, leading to a stagnated growth. The institutions for Mithun research and development are also weak. Furthermore, the species is under threat from new diseases and habitat alteration triggered by climate change. Founded on the current state of knowledge, there is a need for institutional development, strengthening institutional linkages, and promoting regional cooperation among Mithun rearing countries for further research and development of this unique cattle.
Keywords: Eastern Himalayas; Ecological Roles; Ethnic Groups; Mithun; Socio-culture; Socio-economic
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