Nashville, TN

Heritage breeds livestock conservation at Nashville Zoo

Lenny Schumacher

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NASHVILLE, TN — Cattle could be found anywhere, but did you know some species of cattle are also listed as endangered? Just like any other species, cattle could face critical endangerment just like the Sumatran tiger or Mexican spider monkey.

In Nashville Zoo, the two devon steers at the Grassmere Historic Farm are endangered due to modern farming techniques. The two cattle in Nashville Zoo are categorized as heritage breed.

Heritage breeds are traditional livestock animals that have been established for centuries. These livestock are considered heritage breeds including donkeys, cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys.

Nashville Zoo has several species considered as heritage breeds such as American milking devon, Belgian hare, Belted galloway, Cotswold sheep, miniature donkeys, and Nigerian dwarf goats.

Why is it important for the conservation of heritage breeds? Some reasons including to ensure the future diversity of agriculture and protect food systems by maintaining livestock and poultry. This will also provide small farms with a competitive edge and highlight the history and cultures of traditional agricultural practices.

There are 3 ways to help in conservation of the heritage breeds.

First, to check the Livestock Conservancy with a mission to protect endangered livestock and poultry breeds from extinction. They have all the information needed about heritage breeds and origins, also how its role in shaping the world. Currently, Livestock Conservancy is working to protect more than 150 endangered livestock, equine, and poultry breeds from extinction. https://www.livestockconservancy.org/

Second, visit the Historic Home and Farm on the next Nashville Zoo to learn more about the heritage breeds species.

Lastly, guests can also share the Facebook page with friends and family to learn about the heritage breeds.

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