Neten  Dorji  | Trashigang

In Sakteng, Trashigang, eight women, all civil servants, have built a shelter for abandoned calves.

The number of stray calves is growing. Recently, Kuenzang Lhamo, a teacher of Sakteng Lower Secondary School and her friend decided to adopt four calves.

There so-called reject calves are low breed. The people being deeply religious, culling is not an option. So the “low breed” calves, rejected by their owners, range free. Many die.

Said Kuezang Lhamo: “Because we take care of calves, highlanders bring more calves.”

A group called Merak-Sakteng Babies 20 calves in its temporary shelter. The group’s eight founding members contribute and feed the calves daily.

A group member, Namgay Dema, said that calves could otherwise be slaughtered. “Most of us are civil servant and taking care calf is challenging.”

Most of them worry that the might cease to exist after they are gone. The group enjoys the support of the drungkhag, community and schools. It has even employed a person to take care of the shelter.

“There are already positive changes among the highlanders,” said Kuezang Lhamo.

Koi is offspring of Goleng and Zomoo. Tue is offspring of Zomoo and Yak.  They are considered low breed.

Highlanders say that they do not have any option other than to abandon the calves. In the past, they were killed.

Dzongkhag Livestock officer, Naina S Tamang, said that crossbreeding was difficult to stop.

If Tue crossbred with male yak and Koi with Goleng for seventh generation, offspring of Tue would give pure yak and Koi offspring can produce pure Goleng.