Buffles en Zone Humide

Buffles en Zone Humide


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Article extrait de la thèse de  D.J. LIGDA en cours de traduction



Résumé :




Il y a 2 races principales chez le buffle d'eau.


1 - Le buffle des marais que l'on trouve dans la moitié est de l'Asie, de couleur grise et aux cornes impressionnantes

Il n'y a qu'une race de buffle des marais (1) mais on trouve des sous-races avec apparemment des caractéristiques génétiques spécifiques. En Thailande les buffles sont plus gros qu'en Chine ou en Birmanie (2). En Indonésie on peut voir des buffles noirs et blancs



2 - Le buffle des rivières que l'on trouve dans la moitié ouest de l'Asie, de couleur noire et aux cornes striées

Le buffle méditerrannéen appartient à cette race mais il a été séparé si longtemps de sa souche d'origine qu'il a développé ses propres caractéristiques.

On compte au total 18 races de buffles des rivières en Inde et au Pakistan qui se répartissent en 5 grands groupes. (1)




Le buffle des marais a 48 chromosomes, le buffle des rivières en a 50 ce qui n'empêche pas les croisements entre les 2 races alors qu'avec ses 60 chomosomes le bovin ne peut se croiser avec le buffle.

Il y a des différences importantes entre chaque buffle dans le rendement en lait ou en viande, la conformation, la forme des cornes, le caractère, la vitesse de croissance etc. Il conviendrait d'améliorer la sélection pour augmenter leur productivité.

Le buffle est considéré comme étant peu productif en Asie mais cette mauvaise réputation est plus à mettre sur le compte d'une mauvaise gestion que sur l'animal lui-même.



Notes du traducteur :

(1) Si l'on ne dénombre qu'une race de buffle des marais c'est aussi qu'il a été moins étudié que le buffle des rivières

(2) Lors de mes randonnées en Asie du sud est, j'ai constaté que l'on trouve des buffles de taille différente (et de race ou sous-race différentes ?) dans chaque pays




The major genetic divisions of the water buffalo are the Swamp buffalo (Bubalus carabanensis) of the eastern half of Asia, which are slate gray, droopy necked, and ox-like with massive swept back horns. They wallow in any water or mud puddle they can find or make. And; the River buffalo (Bubalus bubalus)of the western half of Asia which usually is black or dark gray with tightly curled or drooping straight horns. They prefer to wallow in clean water.There is also the Mediterranean buffalo, which is of the River type but has been isolated for so long that it has developed some unique characteristics. Although there is only one breed of Swamp buffalo, certain subgroups seem to have specific inherited characteristics. For example, the buffalos of Thailand are noted for their large size, averaging 450-550 kg. and weights of up to 1000 kg. have been observed. Elsewhere Swamp buffaloes range from 250 kg. for some small animals in China to 300 kg in Burma and 500-600 kg in Laos. In Australia, the feral water buffalo has developed a characteristic appearance. In Indonesia a black and white spotted variety is known.
Only in India and Pakistan are there well defined breeds with standard qualities. There are 18 River buffalo breeds in South Asia, which are further classified into 5 major groups designated as the Murrah, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Central Indian and South Indian breeds. Within these groups are breeds. The best known breeds are Murrah, Nili/Ravi, Jafarabadi, Surti, Mehsana,Kundi and Nagpuri. Most of the buffaloes of the Indian subcontinent belong to a nondescript group known as the Desi buffalo. Trinidad imported several breeds from India between 1905 and 1908. Crossbreeding of these animals has produced a Trinidadian type and these animals are the stock that has been imported into the US.

                   |                            |     
  African wild buffalo                     Asian buffalo
  Syncerus caffar              ____________________________           Subspecies: 	               |                           |
      S. caffar caffar   Wild buffaloes           Domestic buffalo
      S. c.brachyceros          |                          |
      S. c.nanus                |                          |
                                |                          |
                  _____________________________            |
                  |             |             |            |
            Indian wild Arni   Anoa         Tamarao        |
            Bubalus arnee     Bubalus       Bubalus        |
                            depressicorais  mindorensis    |
                                |                          |
                         River Type                   Swamp Type
                         Indian buffalo               Bubalus
                         Bubalus bubalis              carabanesis


The Swamp buffalo has 48 chromosomes, the River buffalo 50. Some researchers consider it a separate species rather than a "type" on this basis (0).The chromosomal material is however, similar in the two types and they crossbreed to produce fertile hybrid progeny. Cattle, however have 60 chromosomes... although mating between cattle and buffalo does occur..... hybrids from the union are unlikely. In 1965, a reputed hybrid was born in the old USSR(1) and hybrids have been reported from China (2). Both reports seem doubtful because despite many attempts no other proven hybrids have ever been produced. Individual buffaloes show large variations in milk yield, conformation, horn shape, color, meat production, temperament, growth rate, and other characteristics. selection for survival under adverse conditions has occurred naturally (those that could not stand adversity died) and farmers have probably tended to select animals of gentle temperament. But systematic genetic improvement has almost never been attempted. It seems likely that further selection could quickly improve their productivity
Unfortunately, the large bulls that would be best for breeding purposes are often being selected as draft animals and castrated, or sent to slaughter, or (as shot by hunters). the result is that the buffalo's overall size in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia has been decreasing as the genes for large size and fast growth are lost.
The buffalo is still largely an animal of the village, and many of it's reported limitations are caused by it's environment rather than by the animal itself. The buffalo has long been considered a poor breeder... slow to mature and slow to rebreed after calving. Poor management and nutrition has contributed much to this reputation. Their gestation period is about a month longer than that of cows, buffalo estrus is difficult to detect and matings occur mainly at night so that the farmer/producer is likely to encounter more problems breeding buffaloes than cattle. It is also possible that Swamp/River crossbreed hybrids have reduced fertility.



david j. ligda

Last Updated:Monday, February 16, 1998 7:58:00 PM


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