Kharai (the swimming camels) is a unique breed of camels in India which are only found in the coastal areas of Gujarat. They are adaptive to the extreme climate of ran of kutchh. Having rounded back,long and thin legs and smaller feet, they are distinct in their physical features from other camels. The Kharai breed grazes on saline trees and shrubs and is tolerant to water in high salinity. This is the only breed which can survive in both coastal and dry ecosystems. These camels are known for their swimming capabilities. According to the experts, these camels can swim up to 3 kilometers or more through water in search of the mangroves.
Given the breed’s ability to survive both on land and sea, the Kharai camel is one of the most preferred choices of graziers in the arid coastal region of Kachchh. People consume its milk, while male calves are sold for economic returns (females are not sold because they are considered sacred). The generations of Fakirani Jat and Rabari commutes in Gujrat have been rearing these camels. These swimming camels are only found in India.This is something that most of the people are not aware of.
The Kharai camels are one of the endangered species and only few are left.As now Kutch’s ‘swimming camels’ have got recognition as a separate breed of camels, the experts hope that it would help in conservation and research efforts.
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