Adorable breed of world’s shortest cow on brink of extinction

The world's shortest breed of cattle is on the brink of dying out with only around 60 animal alive today. The Punganur breed, named after the town in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh from which it originates, stands at between 70 and 90 centimetres, no taller than a Great Dane. According to India's Food and Agriculture Organisation, this indigenous breed is facing extinction and can only be found in a handful of government-run and private farms in Andhara Pradesh. According to Dr P Krishnam Raju, a noted private breeder, the cows used to be very popular among the poor. “It eats little, is easy to maintain and yields 2 to 4 litres of fat-rich milk per day," he says. "It was ideal for poor families who could not afford normal cows,” he adds. As Indian farmers shifted to more productive cows, however, demand for indigenous breeds, which yield less milk, dwindled. Crossbreeding also led to a gradual decline in the number of Punganur cattle. There is now, however, new hope for the diminutive breed: the pet market. “People in cities, even those living in apartments, are buying them as pets. They are small, friendly and believed to bring good luck," says Dr Raju. For now, Punganur cows are too expensive for most with prices starting from Rs 5 lakh (4,950 GBP) and rising to as much as Rs 30 lakh (29,700 GBP).